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Cornell  University 

The  original  of  tiiis  book  is  in 
tine  Cornell  University  Library. 

There  are  no  known  copyright  restrictions  in 
the  United  States  on  the  use  of  the  text. 

Cornell  University  Library 
E  302.J45  1869 
Writings  of  Thomas  Jefferson 

3   1924  026  091    615 




















J.  B.  LIPPINCOTT   &   CO. 

186  9. 






BOOK  n. 

Paet  111. — Continued. — Letters  written  after  his  return  to  the  Uni- 
ted States  down  to  the  time  of  his  death. — (1790-1826,) — 3. 

Adams,  John,  letters  written  to,  25,  37,43,  54,  61,  81,  199,  217,  243,  254, 

264,  274,  280,  307,  313,  33.7,  435. 
Adams,  Mrs.  A.,  letter  written  to,  62. 
Adams,  J.  Q.,  letter  written  to,  436. 

BaiTy,  Wm.  T.,  letter  written  to,  255. 
Blatchly,  C.  C,  letter  written  to,  263. 
Breokenridge,  General,  letters  written  to,  204,  237. 

Cabell,  Joseph  C,  letters  written  to,  201,  329,  350,  392. 
Campbell,  John,  letter  written  to,  268. 
Cartv^right,  Major  John,  letter  written  to,  355. 
Cooper,  Dr.,  letter  written  to,  2Q6. 
Corey,  M.,  letter  written  to,  318. 
Crawford,  Wm.  H.,  letter  written  to,  5. 

Dearborne,  General,  letter  written  to,  214. 
Delaplaine,  Mr.,  letter  written  to,  20 
Denison,  Hon.  J.  Evelyn,  letter  written  to,  415. 

Earle,  Thomas,  letter  written  to,  310. 
Emmet,  Dr.,  letters  written  to,  438,  441. 
Engelbretcht,  Isaac,  letter  written  to,  337. 
Eppes,  Francis,  letter  written  to,  197. 
,  Everett,  Edward,  letters  written  to,  232,  270,  340,  380,  437. 

Flower,  George,  letter  written  to,  83. 


Gallatin,  Albert,  letter  written  to,  '7'J. 
Garnett,  Robert  J.,  letter  written  to,  326. 
Giles,  Wm.  B.,  letters  written  to,  424,  426. 
Gilmer,  Francis  W.,  letter  written  to,  3. 
Gooch,  Claiborne  W.,  letter  written  to,  430. 

Hammond,  Mr.  C,  letter  written  to,  215. 
Harding,  David  H.,  letter  written  to,  346. 
Hopkins,  George  R,  letter  written  to,  259. 
Humboldt,  Baron,  letter  written  to,  74. 
Humphreys,  Dr.  Thomas,  letter  written  to,  67 

Johnson,  Judge,  letters  written  to,  276,  290. 

Kerchival,  Samuel,  letters  written  to,  9,  35. 

La  Fayette,  Marquis  de  la,  letters  written  to,  63,  324,  378 

Lee,  H.,  letters  written  to,  376,  407; 

Lee,  Wm.,  letter  written  to,  56. 

Livingston,  Edward,  letters  written  to,  342,  402. 

Logan,  Dr.,  letter  written  to,  19. 

Ludlow,  Wm.,  letter  written  to,  377. 

Macon,  Nathaniel,  letter  written  to,  222. 

Madison,  James,  letters  written  to,  304,  373,  422,  432. 

Mannus,  Dr.  John,  letter  written  to,  72. 

Mansfield,  Jared,  lettei-  written  to,  203. 

Marbois,  M.  de,  letter  written  to,  76. 

Mease,  Dr.  James,  letter  written  to,  410. 

Megan,  Mr.,  letter  written  to,  286. 

Mellish,  Mr.,  letter  written  to,  51. 

Morse,  Jedediah,  letter  written  to,  233. 

Nicholas,  Mr.,  letter  written  to,  229. 

Pickering,  Timothy,  letter  written  to,  210. 
Pleasants,  John  Hampden,  letter  written  to,  344. 
Plumer,  Governor,  letter  written  to,  18. 
President,  The,  letters  written  to,  287,  299,  315. 

Ritchie  &  Gooch,  letters  written  to,  239,  246. 
Roane,  Judge,  letters  written  tOj  211,  212. 


Rodgers,  Patrick  K.,  letter  written  to,  327. 

Roscoe,  Mr.,  letter  written  to,  195. 

Rush  Richard,  letters  written  to,  347  379. 

Secretary  of  State,  letter  wiitten  to,  41. 

Short,  Wm.,  letters  written  to,  309,  389. 

Sinclair,  St.  John,  letter  written  to,  22. 

Skidman,  Thomas,  letter  written  to,  258. 

Smith,  Mr.  M.  Harrison,  letter  written  to,  27. 

Smith,  James,  letter  written  to,  269. 

Smith,  General  Samuel,  letters  written  to,  284. 

Smith,  T.  J.,  letter  written  to,  401. 

Smyth,  General  Alexander,  letter  written  to,  394. 

Sparks,  Jared,  letter  written  to,  332. 

Stuart,  Josephus  B.,  letter  written  to,  64. 

Summers,  George  W.,  cfec,  letter  written  to,  230. 

Taylor,  John,  letter  written  to,  17. 
Taylor,  Hugh  P.,  letter  written  to,  2. 
Terrel,  Dabney,  letter  written  to,  206. 
Terril,  Chiles,  letter  written  to,  260. 
Thweat,  Archibald,  letters  written  to,  198. 
Tiffany,  Isaac  H.,  letter  written  to,  31. 
Ticknor,  George,  letter  written  to,  300. 

Van  Buren,  Martin,  letter  written  to,  362, 
Vaughan,  John,  letter  written  to,  409. 

Waterhouse,  Dr.  Benjamin,  letters  written  to,  252,  257. 

Weightman,  Mr.,  letter  written  to,  450. 

Whittemore,  Mr.  Robert,  letter  written  to,  245. 

Wiss,  Lewis  M.,  letter  written  to,  419. 

Woodward,  Mr.,  letter  written  to,  338. 

Woodward,  Judge  Augustus  B.,  letter  written  to,  405. 

Wright,  Miss,  letter  written  to,  408. 

Address  lost,  letters  written  to,  220,  223,  383,  397,  411,  426,  431,  444. 

Letters  to  Thomas  Jefferson  from  John  Adams,  29,  38,  47,  58,  68,  70,  85, 
219,  261,  279,  302,  396. 

BOOK  III.— Part  I. 


1.  Report  on  the  method  of  obtaining  fresh  water  from  salt,  455. 

2.  Opinion  on  the  proposition  for  establishing  a  woollen  manufactory  in 

Virginia,  460. 

3.  Report  on  copper  coinage,  462. 

4.  Opinion  on  the  question  whether  the  Senate  has  the  right  to  negative 

the  grade  of  persons  appointed  by  the  Executive  to  fill  foreign  mis- 
sions, 465. 

5.  Opinion  on  the  validity  of  a  grant  made  by  the  State  of  Georgia  to 

certain  companies  of  individuals,  of  a  tract  of  country,  whereof  the 
Indian  right  had  never  been  extinguished,  with  power  to  such  indi- 
viduals to  extinguish  the  Indian  right,  467. 

6.  Opinion  in  favor  of  the  Resolution  of  May  21,  1790,  directing  that,  in 

all  cases  where  payment  had  not  been  already  made,  the  debts  due 
to  the  soldiers  of  Virginia  and  North  Caiolina,  should  be  paid  to  the 
original  claimants,  and  not  to  their  assignees,  469. 

7.  Report  on  plan  for  establishing  uniformity  in  the  coins,  weights  and 

measures,  of  the  United  States,  472. 

8.  Opinion  on  the  question  whether  the  President  should  veto  the  bill, 

declaring  that  the  seat  of  government  shall  be  transferred  to  the  Po- 
tomac in  the  year  1790,  498. 

9.  Opinion  respecting  expenses  and  salaries  of  foreign  ministers,  501. 
10.  Opinion  in  regard  to  the  continuances  of  the  monopoly  of  the  com- 
merce of  the  Creek  nation  enjoyed  by  Colonel  McGillivray,  504. 

.  11.  Opinion  respecting  our  foreign  debt,  506. 

12.  Opinion  on  the  question  whether  Lord  Dorchester  should  be  permitted 

to  march  troops  through  the  territories  of  United  States  from  Detroit 
to  the  Mississippi,  508. 

13.  Opinion  on'  the  question  whether  the  real  object  of  the  expedition  of 
I    Governor  St.  Clair,  should  be  notified  to  Lord  Dorchester,  510. 

14.  Opinion  on  the  proceedings  to  be  had  under  the  Residence  Act,  511. 



15.  Keport  of  the  Secretary  of  State  to  the  President  of  the  United  States 

on  the  Eeport  of  the  Secretary  of  the  Government  of  the  North-West 
of  the  Ohio,  516. 

16.  Opinion  on  certain  proceedings  of  the  Executive  in  the  North-Western 

Territory,  515. 

17.  Eeport  on  certain  letters  hetween  the  President  and  Governeur  Morris, 

relative  to  our  difficulties  v?ith  England,  517. 

18.  Eeport  on  the  Mediterranean  trade,  519. 

19.  Eeport  on  the  Algerine  prisoners,  532. 

20.  Eeport  on  the  cod  and  whale  fisheries,  538. 

21.  Opinion  against  the  constitutionaHty  of  a  National  Bank,  555. 

22.  Opinion  relative  to  the  ten  mile  square  for  the  federal  government,  561. 

23.  Eeport  on  the  policy  of  securing  peculiar  marks  to  manufacturers  by 

law,  563. 

24.  Opinion  relative  to  the  demolition  of  Mr.  Carroll's  house  by  Major 

L'Enfant,  in  laying  out  the  Federal  City  564. 

25.  Opinion  relative  to  certain  lands  on  Lake  Erie,  sold  by  the  U.  States 

to  Pennsylvania,  567. 

26.  Eeport  on  the  negotiations  with  Spain  to  secure  the  navigation  of  the 

Mississippi,  and  a  port  on  the  same,  568. 

27.  Eeport  on  the  case  of  Charles  Eussell  and  others,  claiming  certain 

lands,  592. 

28.  Eeport  relative  to  negotiations  at  Madrid,  593. 

29.  Opinion  on  bill  apportioning  representation,  594. 

30.  Opinion  relative  to  the  re-capture  of  slaves,  escaped  to  Florida,  601. 

31.  Eeport  on  the  assays  at  the  mint,  604. 

32.  Eeport  on  the  petition  of  John  Eodgers  relative  to  certain  lands  on  the 

north-east  side  of  the  Tennessee,  605. 

33.  Eeport  relative  to  the  boundaries  of  the  lands  between  the  Ohio  and 

the  lakes  acquired  by  treaties  from  the  Indians,  608. 

34.  Eeport  on  proceedings  of  Secretary  of  State  to  transfer  to  Europe  the 

annual  fund  of  $40,000,  appropriated  to  that  department,  610. 

35.  Opinion  on  the  question  whether  the  United  States  have  the  right  to 

renounce  their  treaties  with  France,  or  hold  them  suspended,  until 
the  government  of  that  country  shall  become  established,  611. 

36.  Opinion  relative  to  granting  passports  to  American  vessels,  624. 

37.  Opinion  relative  to  the  case  of  a  British  vessel  captured  by  a  French 

vessel,  purchased  by  French  citizens,  and  fitted  out  as  a  privateer  in 
one  of  our  ports,  626. 


'  38.  Opinion  on  the  proposition  of  the  Secretary  of  the  Treasury  to  open  a 

new  loan,  629. 
\  39.  Opinion  relative  to  the  policy  of  a  new  loan,  633. 
40.  Report  on  the  restrictions  and  privileges  of  the  commerce  of  the  Uiu- 

ted  states  in  foreign  countries,  636. 
X  41.  Report  on  the  mint,  651, 




PART    III.  — Continued. 




M0NTICELI.0,  J^ne  7,  1816. 

Deak  Sik, — I  received  a  few  days  ago  from  Mr.  Dupont  the 
enclosed  manuscript,  with  permission  to  read  it,  and  a  request, 
when  read,  to  forward  it  to  you,  in  expectation  that  you  would 
translate  it.  It  is  well  worthy  of  publication  for  the  instruction 
of  onr  citizens,  being  profound,  sound,  and  short.  Our  legisla- 
tors are  not  sufficiently  apprized  of  the  rightful  limits  of  their 
power;  that  their  true  office  is  to  declare  and  enforce  only  our 
natural  rights  and  duties,  and  to  take  none  of  them  from  us.  No 
man  has  a  natural  right  to  commit  aggression  on  the  equal  rights 
of  another  ;  and  this  is  all  from  which  the  laws  ought  to  restrain 
him  ;  every  man  is  under  the  natural  duty  of  contributing  to  the 
necessities  of  the  society ;  and  this  is  all  the  laws  should  enforce 
on  him  ;  and,  no  man  having  a  natural  right  to  be  the  judge  be- 
tween himself  and  another,  it  is  his  natural  duty  to  submit  to 
the  umpirage  of  an  impartial  third.  When  the  laws  have  de- 
clared and  enforced  all  this,  they  have  fulfilled  their  functions , 
and  the  idea  is  quite  unfounded,  that  on  entering  into  society  we 
give  up  any  natural  right.  The  trial  of  every  law  by  one  of 
those  texts,  would  lessen  much  the  labors  of  our  legislators,  and 
lighten  equally  our  municipal  codes.     There  is  a  work,  of  the 


first  order  of  merit  now  in  the  press  at  Washington,  by  Destutt 
Tracy,  on  the  subject  of  political  economy,  which  he  brings  mto 
the  compass  of  three  hundred  pages,  octavo.  In  a  preliminary 
discourse  on  the  origin  of  the  right  of  property,  he  coincides 
much  with  the  principles  of  the  present  manuscript ;  but  is  more 
developed,  more  demonstrative.  He  promises  a  future  work  on 
morals,  in  which  I  lament  to  see  that  he  will  adopt  the  princi- 
ples of  Hobbes,  or  humiliation  to  human  nature  ;  that  the 
sense  of  justice  and  injustice  is  not  derived  from  our  natural  or- 
ganization, but  founded  on  convention  only.  I  lament  this  the 
more,  as  he  is  unquestionably  the  ablest  writer  living,  on  abstract 
subjects.  Assuming  the  fact,  that  the  earth  has  been  created  in 
time,  and  consequently  the  dogma  of  final  causes,  we  yield,  of 
course,  to  this  short  syllogism.  Man  was  created  for  social  inter- 
covirse ;  but  social  intercourse  cannot  be  maintained  without  a 
sense  of  justice  ;  then  man  must  have  been  created  with  a  sense 
of  justice.  There  is  an  error  into  which  most  of  the  specula- 
tors on  government  have  fallen,  and  which  the  well-known  state 
of  society  of  our  Indians  ought,  before  now,  to  have  corrected. 
In  their  hypothesis  of  the  origin  of  government,  they  suppose  it 
to  have  commenced  in  the  patriarchal  or  monarchical  form.  Our 
Indians  are  evidently  in  that  state  of  nature  which  has  passed 
the  association  of  a  single  family ;  and  not  yet  submitted  to  the 
authority  of  positive  laws,  or  of  any  acknowledged  magistrate. 
Every  man,  with  them,  is  perfectly  free  to  follow  his  own  incli- 
nations. But  if,  in  doing  this,  he  violates  the  rights  of  another, 
if  the  case  be  slight,  he  is  punished  by  the  disesteem  of  his  so- 
ciety, or,  as  we  say,  by  public  opinion ;  if  serious,  he  is  toma- 
hawked as  a  dangerous  enemy.  Their  leaders  conduct  them  by 
the  influence  of  their  character  only  ;  and  they  follow,  or  not, 
as  they  please,  him  of  whose  character  for  wisdom  or  war  they 
have  the  highest  opinion.  Hence  the  origin  of  the  parties 
among  them  adhering  to  different  leaders,  and  governed  by  their 
advice,  not  by  their  command.  The  Cherokees,  the  only  tribe 
I  know  to  be  contemplating  the  establishment  of  regular  laws, 
magistrates,  and  government,  propose  a  government  of  represen- 


tatives,  elected  from  every  town.  But  of  all  things,  they  least 
think  of  subjecting  themselves  to  the  will  of  oiae  man.  This, 
the  only  instance  of  actual  fact  within  our  knowledge,  will  he 
then  a  beginning  by  republican,  and  not  by  patriarchal  or  mon 
archical  government,  as  speculative  writers  have  generally  con- 

We  have  to  join  in  mutual  congratulations  on  the  appointment 
of  our  friend  Correa,  to  be  minister  or  envoy  of  Portugal,  here. 
This,  I  hope,  will  give  him  to  us  for  life.  Nor  will  it  at  all  inter- 
fere with  his  botanical  rambles  or  journeys.  The  government  of 
Portugal  is  so  peaceable  and  inoflfensive,  that  it  has  never  any  al- 
tercations with  its  friends.  If  their  minister  abroad  writes  them 
once  a  quarter  that  all  is  well,  they  desire  no  more.  I  learn, 
(though  not  from  Correa  himself,)  that  he  thinks  of  paying  us  a 
visit  as  soon  as  he  is  through  his  course  of  lectures.  Not  to  lose 
this  happiness  again  by  my  absence,  I  have  informed  him  I  shall 
set  out  for  Poplar  Forest  the  20th  instant,  and  he  back  the  first 
week  of  July.  I  wish  you  and  he  could  concert  your  movements 
so  us  to  meet  here,  and  that  you  would  make  this  your  head 
quarters.  It  is  a  good  central  point  from  which  to  visit  your  con- 
nections ;  and  you  know  our  practice  of  placing  our  guests  at  their 
ease,  by  showing  them  we  are  so  ourselves  and  that  we  follow 
our  necessary  vocations,  instead  of  fatiguing  them  by  hanging 
unremittingly  on  their  shoulders.  I  salute  you  with  affectionate 
esteem  and  respect. 

TO    WILIilAM    H.    CRAWFORD. 

MoNTioET.T.o,  June  20,  1816 

Dear  Sir, — I  am  about  to  sin  against  all  discretion,  and  know- 
ingly, by  adding  to  the  drudgery  of  your  letter-reading,  this  ac- 
knowledgment of  the  receipt  of  your  favor  of  May  the  31st,  with 
the  papers  it  covered.  I  cannot,  however,  deny  myself  the  grati- 
fication of  expressing  the  satisfaction  I  have  received,  not  only 
from  the  general  statement  of  affairs  at  Paris,  in  yours  of  Decern- 


ber  the  12th,  1814,  (as  a  matter  of  history  which  I  had  rot  be- 
fore received,)  but  most  especially  and  superlatively,  from  the 
perusal  of  your  letter  of  the  8th  of  the  same  month  to  Mr.  Fisk, 
on  the  subject  of  draw-backs.  This  most  heterogeneous  prin- 
ciple was  transplanted  into  ours  from  the  British  system,  by  a 
man  whose  mind  was  really  powerful,  but  chained  by  native  par- 
tialities to  everything  English  ;  who  had  formed  exaggerated 
ideas  of  the  superior  perfection  of  the  English  constitution,  the 
superior  wisdom  of  their  government,  and  sincerely  believed  it 
for  the  good  of  this  country  to  make  them  their  model  in  every- 
thing ;  without  considering  that  what  might  be  wise  and  good 
for  a  nation  essentially  commercial,  and  entangled  in  complicated 
intercourse  with  numerous  and  powerful  neighbors,  might  not  be 
so  for  one  essentially  agricultural,  and  insulated  by  nature  from 
the  abusive  governments  of  the  old  world. 

The  exercise,  by  our  own  citizens,  of  so  much  commerce  as 
may  suffice  to  exchange  our  superfluities  for  our  wants,  may  be 
advantageous  for  the  whole.  But  it  does  not  follow,  that  with  a 
territory  so  boundless,  it  is  the  interest  of  the  whole  to  become  a 
mere  city  of  London,  to  carry  on  the  business  of  one  half  the 
world  at  the  expeitse  of  eternal  war  with  the  other  half.  The 
agricultural  capacities  of  our  country  constitute  its  distinguishing 
feature  ;  and  the  adapting  our  policy  and  pursuits  to  that,  is  more 
likely  to  make  us  a  numerous  and  happy  people,  than  the  mimicry 
of  an  Amsterdam,  a  Hamburgh,  or  a  city  of  London.  Every  so- 
ciety has  a  right  to  fix  the  fundamental  principles  of  its  associa- 
tion, and  to  say  to  all  individuals,  that,  if  they  contemplate  pur- 
suits beyond  the  limits  of  these  principles,  and  involving  dangers 
which  the  society  chooses  to  avoid,  they  must  go  somewhere  else 
for  their  exercise  ;  that  we  want  no  citizens,  and  still  less  ephem- 
aral  and  pseudo-citizens,  on  such  terms.  We  may  exclude  them 
from  our  territory,  as  we  do  persons  infected  with  disease.  Such 
is  the  situation  of  our  country.  We  have  most  abundant  re- 
sources of  happiness  within  ourselves,  which  we  may  enjoy  in 
peace  and  safety,  without  permitting  a  few  citizens,  infected  with 
the  mania  of  rambling  and  gambling,  to  bring;  danger  on  the 


great  mass  engaged  in  innocent  and  safe  pursuits  at  home.  In 
your  letter  to  Fisk,  you  have  fairly  stated  the  alternatives  be- 
tween which  we  are  to  choose  :  1,  licentious  commerce  and 
gambling  speculations  for  a  few,  with  eternal  war  for  the  many ; 
or,  2,  restricted  commerce,  peace,  and  steady  occupations  for  all. 
If  any  Staie  in  the  Union  will  declare  that  it  prefers  separation 
with  the  first  alternative,  to  a  continuance  in  union  without  it,  I 
have  no  hesitation  in  saying,  "  let  us  separate."  I  would  rather 
the  States  should  withdraw,  which  are  for  unlimited  commerce 
and  war,  and  confederate  with  those  alone  which  are  for  peace 
and  agriculture.  I  know  that  every  nation  in  Europe  would  join 
in  sincere  amity  with  the  latter,  and  hold  the  former  at  arm's 
length,  by  jealousies,  prohibitions,  restrictions,  vexations  and 
war.  No  earthly  consideration  could  induce  my  consent  to  con- 
tract such  a  debt  as  England  has  by  her  wars  for  commerce,  to 
reduce  our  citizens  by  taxes  to  such  wretchedness,  as  that  labor- 
ing sixteen  of  the  twenty-four  hours,  they  are  still  unable  to  af- 
ford themselves  bread,  or  barely  to  earn  as  much  oatmeal  or  po- 
tatoes as  will  keep  soul  and  body  together.  And  all  this  to  feed 
the  avidity  of  a  few  millionary  merchants,  and  to  keep  up  one 
thousand  ships  of  war  for  the  protection  of  their  commercial 
speculations.  I  returned  from  Europe  after  our  government  had 
got  under  way,  and  had  adopted  from  the  British  code  the  law 
of  draw-backs.  I  early  saw  its  effects  in  the  jealousies  and 
vexations  of  Britain  ;  and  that,  retaining  it,  we  must  become  like 
her  an  essentially  warring  nation,  and  meet,  in  the  end,  the  catas- 
trophe impending  over  her.  No  one  can  doubt  that  this  alone 
produced  the  orders  of  council,  the  depredations  which  preceded, 
and  the  war  which  followed  them.  Had  we  carried  but  our  own 
jjroduce,  and  luought  back  but  our  own  wants,  no  nation  would 
liave  troubled  us.  Our  commercial  dashers,  then,  have  already 
cost  us  so  many  thousand  lives,  so  many  millions  of  dollars,  more 
than  their  persons  and  all  their  commerce  were  worth.  When 
war  was  declared,  and  especially  after  Massachusetts,  who  had 
produced  it,  took  side  with  the  enemy  waging  it,  I  pressed  on 
some  confidej?tial  friends  in  Congress  to  avail  us  of  tl  e  happy  op- 


portuuity  of  repealing  the  draw-back ;  and  I  do  rejoice  to  find 
that  you  are  in  that  sentiment.  You  are  young,  and  may  be  m 
the  way  of  bringing  it  into  effect.  Perhaps  time,  even  yet,  and 
change  of  tone,  (for  there  are  symptoms  of  that  in  Massachusetts,) 
may  not  have  obliterated  altogether  the  sense  of  our  late  feelings 
and  sufferings ;  may  not  have  induced  oblivion  of  the  friends  we 
have  lost,  the  depredations  and  conflagratiojis  we  have  suffered, 
and  the  debts  we  have  incurred,  and  have  to  labor  for  through 
the  lives  of  the  present  generation.  The  earlier  the  repeal  is  pro- 
posed, the  more  it  will  be  befriended  by  all  these  recollections 
and  considerations.  This  is  one  of  three  great  measures  neces- 
sary to  insure  us  permanent  prosperity.  This  preserves  our 
peace.  A  second  should  enable  us  to  meet  any  war,  by  adopting 
the  report  of  the  war  department,  for  placing  the  force  of  the  na- 
tion at  effectual  command ;  and  a  third  should  insure  resources 
of  money  by  the  suppression  of  all  paper  circulation  during  peace, 
and  licensing  that  of  the  nation  alone  during  war.  The  metallic 
medium  of  which  we  should  be  possessed  at  the  commencement 
of  a  war,  would  be  a  sufficient  fund  for  all  the  loans  we  should 
need  through  its  continuance  ;  and  if  the  national  bills  issued,  be 
bottomed  (as  is  indispensable)  on  pledges  of  specific  taxes  for 
their  redemption  within  certain  and  moderate  epochs,  and  be  of 
proper  denominations  for  circulation,  no  interest  on  them  would 
be  necessary  or  just,  because  they  would  answer  to  every  one  the 
purposes  of  the  metallic  money  withdrawn  and  replaced  by  them. 
But  possibly  these  may  be  the  dreams  of  an  old  man,  or  that 
tte  occasions  of  realizing  them  may  have  passed  away  without 
return.  A  government  regulating  itself  by  what  is  wise  and  just 
for  the  many,  uninfluenced  by  the  local  and  selfish  views  of  the 
few  who  direct  their  affairs,  has  not  been  seen  perhaps,  on  earth. 
Or  if  it  existed,  for  a  moment,  at  the  birth  of  ours,  it  would  not 
be  easy  to  fix  the  term  of  its  continuance.  Still,  I  believe  it 
does  exist  here  in  a  greater  degree  than  anywhere  else  ;  and  for 
its  growth  and  continuance,  as  well  as  for  your  personal  health 
and  happiness,  I  offer  sincere  prayers,  with  the  homage  of  my 
respect  and  esteem. 



MoNTiCEt.1,0,  July  12,  1816. 

Sm, — I  duly  received  your  favor  of  June  the  13th,  with  the 
copy  of  the  letters  on  the  calling  a  convention,  on  which  you  are 
pleased  to  ask  my  opinion.  I  have  not  been  in  the  habit  of 
mysterious  reserve  on  any  subject,  nor  of  buttoning  up  my  opin- 
ions within  my  own  doublet.  On  the  contrary,  while  in  public 
service  especially,  I  thought  the  public  entitled  to  frankness,  and 
intimately  to  know  whom  they  employed.  But  I  am  now  re- 
tired :  I  resign  myself,  as  a  passenger,  with  confidence  to  those 
at  present  at  the  helm,  and  ask  but  for  rest,  peace  and  good  will. 
The  question  you  propose,  on  equal  representation,  has  become  a 
party  one,  in  which  I  wish  to  take  no  public  share.  Yet,  if  it  be 
asked  for  your  own  satisfaction  only,  and  not  to  be  quoted  before 
the  public,  I  have  no  motive  to  withhold  it,  and  the  less  from 
you,  as  it  coincides  with  your  own.  At  the  birth  of  our  repub- 
lic, I  committed  that  opinion  to  the  world,  in  the  draught  of  a 
constitution  annexed  to  the  "  Notes  on  Virginia,"  in  which-  a  pro- 
vision was  inserted  for  a  representation  permanently  equal.  The 
infancy  of  the  subject  at  tbat  moment,  and  our  inexj:erience  of 
self-government,  occasioned  gross  departures  in  that  draught  from 
genuine  republican  canons.  In  truth,  the  abuses  of  monarchy 
had  so  much  filled  all  the  space  of  political  contemplation,  that 
we  imagined  everything  republican  which  was  not  monarchy. 
We  had  not  yet  penetrated  to  the  mother  principle,  that  "  govern- 
ments are  republican  only  in  proportion  as  they  embody  the  will 
of  their  people,  and  execute  it."  Hence,  our  first  constitutions 
had  really  no  leading  principles  in  them.  But  experience  and 
reflection  have  but  more  and  more  confirmed  me  in  the  particular 
importance  of  the  equal  representation  then  proposed.  On  that 
point,  then,  I  am  entirely  in  sentiment  with  your  letters ;  and 
only  lament  that  a  copy-right  of  your  pamphlet  prevents  their 
appearance  in  the  newspapers,  where  alone  they  would  be  gen- 
erally read,  and  produce  general  effect.     The  present  vacancy  too, 


of  other  matter,  would  give  them  place  in  every  paper,  and  bring 
the  question  home  to  every  man's  conscience. 

But  inequality  of  representation  in  both  Houses  of  our  legisla- 
ture, is  not  the  only  republican  heresy  in  this  first  essay  of  our 
revolutionary  patriots  at  forming  a  constitution.  For  let  it  be 
agreed  that  a  government  is  republican  in  proportion  as  every 
member  composing  it  has  his  equal  voice  in  the  direction  of  its 
concerns,  (not  indeed  in  person,  which  would  be  impracticable 
beyond  the  limits  of  a  city,  or  small  township,  but)  by  represen- 
tatives chosen  by  himself,  and  responsible  to  him  at  short  periods, 
and  let  us  bring  to  the  test  of  this  canon  every  branch  of  our 

In  the  legislature,  the  House  of  Representatives  is  chosen  by 
less  than  half  the  people,  and  not  at  all  in  proportion  to  those  who 
do  choose.  The  Senate  are  still  more  disproportionate,  and  for 
long  terms  of  irresponsibility.  In  the  Executive,  the  Governor  is 
entirely  independent  of  the  choice  of  the  people,  and  of  their  con- 
trol ;  his  Council  equally  so,  and  at  best  but  a  fifth  wheel  to  a 
wagon.  In  the  Judiciary,  the  judges  of  the  highest  courts  are 
dependent  on  none  but  themselves.  In  England,  where  judges 
were  named  and  removable  at, the  will  of  an  hereditary  executive, 
from  which  branch  most  misrule  was  feared,  and  has  flowed,  it 
was  a  great  point  gained,  by  fixing  them  for  life,  to  make  them 
independent  of  that  executive.  But  in  a  government  founded  on 
the  public  will,  this  principle  operates  in  an  opposite  direction, 
and  against  that  will.  There,  too,  they  were  still  removable  on 
a  concurrence  of  the  executive  and  legislative  branches.  But  we 
have  made  them  independent  of  the  nation  itself.  They  are 
irremovable,  but  by  their  own  body,  for  any  depravities  of  con- 
duct, and  even  by  their  own  body  for  the  imbecilities  of  dotage. 
The  justices  of  the  inferior  courts  are  self-chosen,  are  for  life,  and 
perpetuate  their  own  body  in  succession  forever,  so  that  a  faction 
once  possessing  themselves  of  the  bench  of  a  county,  can  never 
be  broken  up,  but  hold  their  county  in  chains,  forever  indisso- 
luble. Yet  these  justices  are  the  real  executive  as  well  as  judi- 
ciary, in  all  our  minor  and  most  ordinary  concerns.     They  tax 

US  at  will ;  fill  the  office  of  sheriff,  the  most  important  of  all  the 
executive  officers  of  the  county  ;  name  nearly  all  our  military 
leaders,  which  leaders,  once  named,  are  removable  but  by  them- 
selves. The  juries,  our  judges  of  all  fact,  and  of  law  when  they 
choose  it,  are  not  selected  by  the  people,  nor  amenable  to  them. 
They  are  chosen  by  an  officer  named  by  the  court  and  execu- 
tive. Chosen,  did  I  say  ?  Picked  up  by  the  sheriff  from  the 
loungings  of  the  court  yard,  after  everything  respectable  has  re- 
tired from  it.  Where  then  is  our  republicanism  to  be  found  ? 
Not  in  our  constitution  certainly,  but  merely  in  the  spirit  of  our 
people.  That  would  oblige  even  a  despot  to  govern  us  repub- 
licanly.  Owing  to  this  spirit,  and  to  nothing  in  the  form  of  our 
constitution,  all  things  have  gone  well.  But  this  fact,  so  trium- 
phantly misquoted  by  the  enemies  of  reformation,  is  not  the  fruit 
of  our  constitution,  but  has  prevailed  in  spite  of  it.  Our  func- 
tionaries have  done  well,  because  generally  honest  men.  If  any 
were  not  so,  they  feared  to  show  it. 

But  it  will  be  said,  it  is  easier  to  find  faults  than  to  amend 
them.  I  do  not  think  their  amendment  so  difficult  as  is  pretend- 
ed. Only  lay  down  true  principles,  and  adhere  to  them  inflexi- 
bly. Do  not  be  frightened  into  their  surrender  by  the  alarms  of 
the  timid,  or  the  croakings  of  wealth  against  the  ascendency  of 
the  people.  If  experience  be  called  for,  appeal  to  that  of  our 
fifteen  or  twenty  governments  for  forty  years,  and  show  me 
where  the  people  have  done  half  the  mischief  in  these  forty 
years,  that  a  single  despot  would  have  done  in  a  single  year ;  or 
show  half  the  riots  and  rebellions,  the  crimes  and  the  punish- 
ments, which  have  taken  place  in  any  single  nation,  under  king- 
ly government,  during  the  same  period.  The  true  foundation 
of  republican  government  is  the  equal  right  of  every  citizen,  in 
his  person  and  property,  and  in  their  management.  Try  by  this, 
as  a  tally,  every  provision  of  our  constitution,  and  see  if  it  hangs 
directly  on  the  will  of  the  people.  Reduce  your  legislative  to  a 
convenient  number  for  full,  but  orderly  discussion.  Let  every 
man  who  fights  or  pays,  exercise  his  just  and  equal  right  in  their 
election.     Sul^mit  them  to  approbation  or  rejection  at  short  in- 


tervals.  Let  the  executive  be  chosen  in  the  same  way,  and  for 
the  same  term,  by  those  whose  agent  he  is  to  be  ;  and  leave  no 
screen  of  a  council  behind  which  to  skulk  from  responsibility. 
It  has  been  thought  that  the  people  are  not  competent  electors 
of  judges  learned  in  the  late.  But  I  do  not  know  that  this  is 
true,  and,  if  doubtful,  we  should  follow  principle.  In  this,  as  in 
many  other  elections,  they  would  be  guided  by  reputation,  which 
would  not  err  oftener,  perhaps,  than  the  present  mode  of  appoint- 
ment. In  one  State  of  the  Union,  at  least,  it  has  long  been 
tried,  and  with  the  most  satisfactory  success.  The  judges  of 
Connecticut  have  been  chosen  by  the  people  every  six  months, 
for  nearly  two  centuries,  and  I  believe  there  has  hardly  ever  been 
an  instance  of  change  ;  so  powerful  is  the  curb  of  incessant  re- 
sponsibility. If  prejudice,  however,  derived  from  a  monarch- 
ichal  institution,  is  still  to  prevail  against  the  vital  elective  princi- 
ple of  our  own,  and  if  the  existing  example  among  ourselves  of 
periodical  election  of  judges  by  the  people  be  still  mistrusted, 
let  us  at  least  not  adopt  the  evil,  and  reject  the  good,  of  the  Eng- 
lish precedent ;  let  us  retain  amovability  on  the  concurrence  of 
the  executive  and  legislative  branches,  and  nomination  by  the 
executive  alone.  Nomination  to  office  is  an  executive  function 
To  give  it  to  the  legislature,  as  we  do,  is  a  violation  of  the  prin- 
ciple of  the  separation  of  powers.  It  swerves  the  members  from 
correctness,  by  temptations  to  intrigue  for  office  themselves,  and 
to  a  corrupt  barter  of  votes  ;  and  destroys  responsibility  by  divid- 
ing it  among  a  multitude.  By  leaving  nomination  in  its  proper 
place,  among  executive  functions,  the  principle  of  the  distribution 
of  power  is  preserved,  and  responsibility  weighs  with  its  heaviest 
force  on  a  single  head. 

The  organization  of  our  county  administrations  may  be  thought 
more  difficult.  But  follow  principle,  and  the  knot  unties  itself. 
Divide  the  counties  into  wards  of  such  size  as  that  every  citizen 
can  attend,  when  called  on,  and  act  in  person.  Ascribe  to  them 
the  government  of  their  wards  in  all  things  relating  to  themselves 
exclusively.  A  justice,  chosen  by  themselves,  in  each,  a  con- 
stable, a  military  company,  a  patrol,  a  school,  the  care  of  their 


own  poor,  their  own  portion  of  the  public  roads,  the  choice  of 
one  or  more  jurors  to  serve  in  some  court,  and  the  delivery, 
within  their  own  wards,  of  their  own  votes  for  all  elective  ofB- 
cers  of  higher  sphere,  will  relieve  the  county  administration  of 
nearly  all  its  business,  will  have  it  better  done,  and  by  making 
every  citizen  an  acting  member  of  the  government,  and  in  the 
offices  nearest  and  most  interesting  to  him,  will  attach  him  by 
his  strongest  feelings  to  the  independence  of  his  country,  and  its 
republican  constitution.  The  justices  thus  chosen  by  every 
ward,  would  constitute  the  county  court,  would  do  its  judiciary 
business,  direct  roads  and  bridges,  levy  county  and  poor  rates, 
and  administer  all  the  matters  of  common  interest  to  the  whole 
country.  These  wards,  called  townships  in  New  England,  are 
the  vital  principle  of  their  governments,  and  have  proved  them- 
selves the  wisest  invention  ever  devised  by  the  wit  of  man  for 
the  perfect  exercise  of  self-government,  and  for  its  preservation. 
We  should  thus  marshal  our  government  into,  1,  the  general 
federal  republic,  for  all  concerns  foreign  and  federal ;  2,  that  of 
the  State,  for  what  relates  to  our  own  citizens  exclusively ;  3, 
the  county  republics,  for  the  duties  and  concerns  of  the  county  ; 
and  4,  the  ward  republics,  for  the  small,  and  yet  numerous  and 
interesting  concerns  of  the  neighborhood  ;  and  in  government,  as 
well  as  in  every  other  business  of  life,  it  is  by  division  and  sub- 
division of  duties  alone,  that  all  matters,  great  and  small,  can  be 
managed  to  perfection.  And  the  whole  is  cemented  by  giving 
to  every  citizen,  personally,  a  part  in  the  administration  of  the 
public  affairs. 

The  sum  of  these  amendments  is,  1.  General  suffrage.  2. 
Ei^ual  representation  in  the  legislature.  3.  An  executive  chosen 
by  the  people.  4.  Judges  elective  or  amovable.  5.  Justices, 
jurors,  and  sheriffs  elective.  6.  "Ward  divisions.  And  7.  Peri- 
odical amendments  of  the  constitution. 

I  have  thrown  out  these  as  loose  heads  of  amendment,  for 
consideration  and  correction  ;  and  their  object  is  to  secure  self- 
government  by  the  republicanism  of  our  constitution,  as  well  as 
by  the  spirit  of  the  people  ;  and  to  nourish  and  perpetuate  that 


spirit.  I  am  not  among  those  who  fear  the  people.  They,  and 
not  the  rich,  are  our  dependence  for  continued  freedom.  And  to 
preserve  their  independence,  we  must  not  let  our  rulers  load  us 
with  perpetual  debt.  We  must  make  our  election  between 
economy  and  liberty,  or  profusion  and  servitude.  If  we  run  into 
such  debts,  as  that  we  must  be  taxed  in  our  meat  and  in  our 
drink,  in  our  necessaries  and  our  comforts,  in  our  labors  and  our 
amusements,  for  our  callings  and  our  creeds,  as  the  people  of 
England  are,  our  people,  like  them,  must  come  to  labor  sixteen 
hours  in  the  twenty-four,  give  the  earnings  of  fifteen  of  these  to 
the  government  for  their  debts  and  daily  expenses  ;  and  the  six- 
teenth being  insufficient  to  afi'ord  us  bread,  we  must  live,  as  they 
now  do,  on  oatmeal  and  potatoes ;  have  no  time  to  think,  no 
means  of  calling  the  mismanagers  to  account ;  but  be  glad  to  ob- 
tain subsistence  by  hiring  ourselves  to  rivet  their  chains  on  the 
necks  of  our  fellow-suflTerers.  Our  land-holders,  too,  like  theirs, 
retaining  indeed  the  title  and  stewardship  of  estates  called  theirs, 
but  held  really  in  trust  for  the  treasury,  must  wander,  like  theirs, 
in  foreign  countries,  and  be  contented  with  penury,  obscurity, 
exile,  and  the  glory  of  the  nation.  This  example  reads  to  us 
the  salutary  lesson,  that  private  fortunes  are  destroyed  by  public 
as  well  as  by  private  extravagance.  And  this  is  the  tendency 
of  all  human  governments.  A  departure  from  principle  in  one 
instance  becomes  a  precedent  for  a  second  ;  that  second  for  a 
third  ;  and  so  on,  till  the  bulk  of  the  society  is  reduced  to  be 
mere  automatons  of  misery,  to  have  no  sensibilities  left  but  for 
sinning  and  suifering.  Then  begins,  indeed,  the  bellum  omnium 
in  omnia,  which  some  lAilosophers  observing  to  be  so  general 
in  this,  world,  have  mistaken  it  for  the  natural,  instead  of  the 
abusive  state  of  man.  And  the  fore  horse  of  this  frightful  team 
is  public  debt.  Taxation  follows  that,  and  in  its  train  wretched- 
ness and  oppression. 

Some  men  look  at  constitutions  with  sanctnnonious  reveience, 
and  deem  them  like  the  ark  of  the  covenant,  too  sacred  to  be 
touched.  They  ascribe  to  the  men  of  the  preceding  age  a  wisdom 
more  than  human,  and  suppose- what  they  did  to  be  beyond  amend- 


ment.  I  knew  that  age  well ;  I  belonged  to  it,  and  labored  with 
it.  It  deserved  well  of  its  country.  It  was  very  like  the  pres- 
ent, but  without  the  experience  of  the  present ;  and  forty  years 
of  experience  in  government  is  worth  acentury  of  book-reading  ; 
and  this  they  would  say  themselves,  were  they  to  rise  from  the 
dead.  I  am  certainly  not  an  advocate  for  frequent  and  untried 
changes  in  laws  and  constitutions.  I  think  moderate  imperfec- 
tions had  better  be  borne  with ;  because,  when  once  known,  we 
accommodate  ourselves  to  them,  and  find  practical  means  of  cor- 
recting their  ill  effects.  But  I  know  also,  that  laws  and  institu- 
tions must  go  hand  in  hand  with  the  progress  of  the  human 
mind.  As  that  becomes  more  developed,  more  enlightened,  as 
new  discoveries  are  made,  new  truths  disclosed,  and  manners  and 
opinions  change  with  the  change  of  circumstances,  institutions 
must  advance  also,  and  keep  pace  with  the  times.  We  might 
as  well  require  a  man  to  wear  still  the  coat  which  fitted  him 
when  a  boy,  as  civilized  society  to  remain  ever  under  the  regi- 
men of  their  barbarous  ancestors.  It  is  this  preposterous  idea 
which  has  lately  deluged  Europe  in  blood.  Their  monarchs,  in- 
stead of  wisely  yielding  to  the  gradual  change  of  circumstances, 
of  favoring  progressive  accommodation  to  progressive  improve- 
ment, have  clung  to  old  abuses,  entrenched  themselves  behind 
steady  habits,  and  obliged  their  subjects  to  seek  through  blood 
and  violence  rash  and  ruinous  innovations,  which,  had  they  been 
referred  to  the  peaceful  deliberations  and  collected  wisdom  of  th(3 
nation,  would  have  been  put  into  acceptable  and  salutary  forms. 
Let  us  follow  no  such  examples,  nor  weakly  believe  that  one 
generation  is  not  as  capable  as  another  of  taking  care  of  itself, 
and  of  ordering  its  own  affairs.  Let  us,  as  our  sister  States  have 
done,  avail  ourselves  of  our  reason  and  experienr.e,  to  correct  the 
crude  essays  of  our  first  and  unexperienced,  although  wise,  vir- 
tuous, and  well-meaning  councils.  And  lastly,  let  us  provide  in 
our  constitution  for  its  revision  at  stated  periods.  What  these 
periods  should  be,  nature  herself  indicates.  By  the  European 
tables  of  mortality,  of  the  adults  living  at  any  one  moment  of 
time,  a  majority  will  be  dead  in  about  nineteen  years.     At  the 


end  of  that  period  then,  a  new  majority  is  come  into  place  ;  or; 
in  other  words,  a  new  generation.  Each  generation  is  as  inde- 
pendent of  the  one  preceding,  as  that  was  of  all  which  had  gone 
before.  It  has  then,  like  them,  a  right  to  choose  for  itself  the 
form  of  government  it  believes  most  promotive  of  its  own  happi- 
ness ;  consequently,  to  accommodate  to  the  circumstances  in 
which  it  finds  itself,  that  received  from  its  predecessors  ;  and  it 
is  for  the  peace  and  good  of  mankind,  that  a  solemn  opportunity 
of  doing  this  every  nineteen  or  twenty  years,  should  be  provided 
by  the  constitution ;  so  that  it  may  be  handed  on,  with  periodi- 
cal repairs,  from  generation  to  generation,  to  the  end  of  time,  if 
anything  human  can  so  long  endure.  It  is  now  forty  years  since 
the  constitution  of  Virginia  was  formed.  The  same  tables  in- 
form us,  that,  within  that  period,  two-thirds  of  the  adults  then 
living  are  now  dead.  Have  then  the  remaining  third,  even  if 
they  had  the  wish,  the  right  to  hold  in  obedience  to  their  will, 
and  to  laws  heretofore  made  by  them,  the  other  two-thirds,  who, 
with  themselves,  compose  the  present  mass  of  adults  ?  If  they 
have  not,  who  has  ?  The  dead  ?  But  the  dead  have  no  rights. 
They  are  nothing  ;  and  nothing  cannot  own  something.  Where 
there  is  no  substance,  there  can  be  no  accident.  This  "^orporeal 
globe,  and  everything  upon  it,  belong  to  its  present  corporeal 
inhabitants,  during  their  generation.  They  alone  have  a  right 
to  direct  what  is  the  concern  of  themselves  alone,  and  to  declare 
the  law  of  that  direction  ;  and  this  declaration  can  only  be  made 
by  their  majority.  That  majority,  then,  has  a  right  to  depute 
representatives  to  a  convention,  and  to  make  the  constitution 
what  they  think  will  be  the  best  for  themselves.  But  how  col- 
lect their  voice  ?  This  is  the  real  difficulty.  If  invited  by  pri- 
vate authority,  or  county  or  district  meetings,  these  divisions  are 
so  large  that  few  will  attend  ;  and  their  voice  will  be  imperfectly, 
or  falsely  pronounced.  Here,  then,  would  be  one  of  the  advan- 
tages of  the  ward  divisions  I  have  ptoposed.  The  mayor  of 
every  ward,  on  a  question  like  the  present,  would  call  his  ward 
together,  take  the  simple  yea  or  nay  of  its  members,  convey  these 
to  the  county  court,  who  would  hand  on  those  of  all  Hs  wards 


to  the  proper  general  authority ;  and  the  voice  of  the  whole  peo- 
ple would  be  thus  fairly,  fully,  and  peaceably  expressed,  dis- 
cussed, and  decided  by  the  common  reason  of  the  society.  If 
this  avenue  be  shut  to  the  call  of  sufferance,  it  will  make  itself 
heard  through  that  of  force,  and  we  shall  go  on,  as  other  nations 
are  doing,  in  the  endless  circle  of  oppression,  rebelUon,  reform- 
ation ;  and  oppression,  rebellion,  reformation,  again  ;  and  so  on 

These,  Sir,  are  my  opinions  of  the  governments  we  see  among 
men,  and  of  the  principles  by  which  alone  we  may  prevent  our 
own  from  falling  into  the  same  dreadful  track.  T  have  given 
them  at  greater  length  than  your  letter  called  for.  But  I  cannot 
say  things  by  halves  ;  and  I  confide  them  to  your  honor,  so  to 
use  them  as  to  preserve  me  from  the  gridiron  of  the  public  papers. 
If  you  shall  approve  and  enforce  them,  as  you  have  done  that  of 
equal  representation,  they  may  do  some  good.  If  not,  keep  them 
to  yourself  as  the  effusions  of  withered  age  and  useless  time.  I 
shall,  with  not  the  less  truth,  assure  you  of  my  great  respect  and 


MoNrrcELr.o.  July  16,  181B, 

Dear  Sik, — Yours  of  the  10th  is  received,  and  I  have  to  ac- 
knowledge a  copious  supply  of  the  turnip  seed  requested.  Be- 
sides taking  care  myself,  I  shall  endeavor  again  to  commit  it  to 
the  depository  of  the  neighborhood,  generally  found  to  be  the 
best  precaution  against  losing  a  good  thing.  I  will  add  a  word 
on  the  political  part  of  our  letters.  I  believe  we  do  not  differ  on 
either  of  the  points  you  suppose.  On  education  certainly  not ; 
of  which  the  proofs  are  my  bill  for  the  diffusion  of  knowledge, 
proposed  near  forty  years  ago,  and  my  uniform  endeavors,  to  this 
day,  to  get  our  counties  divided  into  wards,  one  of  the  principal 
objects  of  which  is,  the  establishment  of  a  primary  school  in 
each.  But  education  not  being  a  branch  of  municipal  govern- 
ment, but,  like  the  other  arts  and  sciences,  an  accident  only,  I  did 

vol..  VII.  2 


not  place  it,  with  election,  as  a  fundamental  member  i  i  the  struc- 
ture of  government.  Nor,  I  believe,  do  we  differ  as  to  the  county 
courts.  I  acknowledge  the  value  of  f  his  institution  ;  that  it  is  in 
truth  our  principal  executive  and  judiciary,  and  that  it  does 
much  for  little  pecuniary  reward.  It  is  their  self-appointment  I 
wish  to  correct ;  to  find  some  means  of  breaking  up  a  cabal, 
when  such  a  one  gets  possession  of  the  bench.  When  this  takes 
place,  it  becomes  the  most  afflicting  of  tyrannies,  because  its  pow- 
ers are  so  various,  and  exercised  on  everything  most  immediately 
around  us.  And  how  many  instances  have  you  and  I  known  of 
these  monopolies  of  coimty  administration  ?  I  knew  a  county 
in  which  a  particular  family  (a  numerous  one)  got  possession  of 
the  bench,  and  for  a  whole  generation  never  admitted  a  man 
on  it  who  was  not  of  its  clan  or  connexion.  I  know  a  county 
now  of  .one  thousand  and  five  hundred  militia,  of  which  sixty 
are  federalists.  Its  court  is  of  thirty  members,  of  whom  twenty 
are  federalists,  (every  third  man  of  the  sect.)  There  are  large 
and  populous  districts  in  it  without  a  justice,  because  without  a 
federalist  for  appointment ;  the  militia  are  as  disproportionably 
under  federal  officers.  And  there  is  no  authority  on  earth  which 
can  break  up  this  junto,  short  of  a  general  convention.  The  re- 
maining one  thousand  four  hundred  and  forty,  free,  fighting,  and 
paying  citizens,  are  governed  by  men  neither  of  their  choice  or 
confidence,  and  without  a  hope  of  relief.  They  are  certainly 
excluded  from  the  blessings  of  a  free  government  for  life,  and  in- 
definitely, for  aught  the  constitution  has  provided.  This  solecism 
may  be  called  anything  but  republican,  and  ought  undoubtedly 
to  be  corrected.  I  salute  you  with  constant  friendship  and  re- 


JloNTiCKLUi,  July  21.  T8I6. 

I  thank  you,  Sir,  for  the  copy  you  have  been  so  good  as  to 
send  me,  of  your  late  speech  to  the  Legislature  of  your  State 
which  I  have  read  a  second  time  with  great  pleasure,  as  I  had  be- 


fore  done  in  the  public  papers.  It  is  replete  with  sound  princi- 
ples, and  truly  republican.  Some  articles,  too,  are  worthy  of  pe- 
culiar notice.  The  idea  that  institutions  established  for  the  use 
of  the  nation  cannot  be  touched  nor  modified,  even  to  make  them 
answer  their  end,  because  of  rights  gratuitously  supposed  in  those 
employed  to  manage  them  in  trust  for  the  public,  may  perhaps 
be  a  salutary  provision  against  the  abuses  of  a  monarch,  but  is 
most  absurd  against  the  nation  itself.  Yet  our  lawyers  and 
priests  generally  inculcate  this  doctrine,  and  suppose  that  preced- 
ing generations  held  the  earth  more  freely  than  we  do  ;  had  a 
right  to  impose  laws  on  us,  unalterable  by  ourselves,  and  that  we, 
in  like  manner,  can  make  laws  and  impose  burthens  on  future 
generations,  which  they  will  have  no  right  to  alter  ;  in  fine,  that 
the  earth  belongs  to  the  dead  and  not  the  living.  I  remark  also 
the  phenomenon  of  a  chief  magistrate  recommending  the  reduc- 
tion of  his  own  compensation.  This  is  a  solecism  of  which  the 
wisdom  of  our  late  Congress  cannot  be  accused.  I,  however, 
place  economy  among  the  first  and  most  important  of  republican 
virtues,  and  public  debt  as  the  greatest  of  the  dangers  to  be 
feared.  We  see  in  England  the  consequences  of  the  want  of  it. 
their  laborers  reduced  to  live  on  a  penny  in  the  shilling  of  their 
earnings,  to  give  up  bread,  and  resort  to  oatmeal  and  potatoes  foi 
food  ;  and  their  landholders  exiling  themselves  to  live  in  penury 
and  obscurity  abroad,  because  at  home  the  government  must  have 
all  the  clear  profits  of  their  land.  In  fact,  they  see  the  fee  simple 
of  the  island  transferred  to  the  public  creditors,  all  its  profits 
going  to  them  for  the  interest  of  their  debts.  Our  laborers  and 
landholders  must  come  to  this  also,  unless  they  severely  adhere 
to  the  economy  you  recommend.  I  salute  you  with  entire  es- 
teem and  respect. 


MoNTiCELLO,  July  23,  1816. 

Deab  Sir, — I  have  received  and  read  with  great  pleasure  the 
account  you  have  been  so  kind  as  to  send  me  of  the  interview 


between  the  Emperor  Alexander  and  Mr.  Clarkson,  which  I  novr 
return,  as  it  is  in  manuscript.  It  shows  great  condescension  of 
character  on  the  part  of  the  Emperor,  and  power  of  mind  also,  to 
be  able  to  abdicate  the  artificial  distance  between  himself  and 
other  good,  able  men,  and  to  converse  as  on  equal  ground.  This 
conversation  too,  taken  with  his  late  Christian  league,  seeins  to 
bespeak  in  him  something  like  a  sectarian  piety  ;  his  character  is 
undoubtedly  good,  and  the  world,  I  think,  may  expect  good  effects 
from  it.  I  have  no  doubt  that  his  firmness  in  favor  of  France, 
after  the  deposition  of  Bonaparte,  has  saved  that  country  from 
evils  still  more  severe  than  she  is  suffering,  and  perhaps  even  from 
partition.  I  sincerely  wish  that  the  history  of  the  secret  proced- 
ings  at  Vienna  may  become  known,  and  may  reconcile  to  our 
good  opinion  of  him  his  participation  in  the  demolition  of  ancient 
and  independent  States,  transferring  them  and  their  inhabitants 
as  farms  and  stocks  of  cattle  at  a  market  to  other  owners,  and 
even  taking  a  part  of  the  spoil  to  himself.  It  is  possible  to  sup- 
pose a  case  excusing  this,  and  my  partiality  for  his  character  en- 
courages me  to  expect  it,  and  to  impute  to  others,  known  to  have 
no  moral  scruples,  the  crimes  of  that  conclave,  who,  under  pre- 
tence of  punishing  the  atrocities  of  Bonaparte,  reached  them 
themselves,  and  proved  that  with  equal  power  they  were  equally 
flagitious.  But  let  us  turn  with  abhorrence  from  these  sceptered 
Scelerats,  and  disregarding  our  own  petty  diffences  of  opinion 
about  men  and  measures,  let  us  cling  in  mass  to  our  country  and 
to  one  another,  and  bid  defiance,  as  we  can  if  united,  to  the  plun- 
dering combinations  of  the  old  world.  Present  me  affectionately 
and  respectfully  to  Mrs.  Logan,  and  accept  the  assurance  of  mv 
friendship  and  best  wishes. 


MoNTroELT.o,  July  26,  I81S. 

Deak  Sir, — In  compliance  with  the  request  of  your  letter  of 
the  6th  inst.,  with  respect  to  Peyton  Randolph,  I  have  to  ob.serve 


that  the  difference  of  age  between  him  and  myself  admitted  my 
knowing  little  of  his  early  life,  except  what  I  accidentally  caught 
from  occasional  conversations.  I  was  a  student  at  college  when 
he  was  already  Attorney  General  at  the  bar,  and  a  man  of  es- 
tablished years  ;  and  I  had  no  intimacy  with  him  until  I  went  to 
the  bar  myself,  when,  I  suppose,  he  must  have  been  upwards  of 
forty  ;  from  that  time,  and  especially  after  I  became  a  member 
of  the  legislature,  until  his  death,  our  intimacy  was  cordial,  and 
I  was  with  him  when  he  died.  Under  these  circumstances,  I 
have  committed  to  writing  as  many  incidents  of  his  life  as  memory 
enabled  me  to  do,  and  to  give  faith  to  the  many  and  excellent 
qualities  he  possessed,  I  have  mentioned  those  minor  ones  which 
he  did  not  possess  ;  considering  true  history,  in  which  all  will  be 
believed,  as  preferable  to  unqualified  panegyric,  in  which  nothing 
is  believed.  I  avoided,  too,  the  mention  of  trivial  incidents, 
which,  by  not  distinguishing,  disparage  a  character ;  but  I  have 
not  been  able  to  state  early  dates.  Before  forwarding  this  paper 
to  you,  I  received  a  letter  from  Peyton  Randolph,  his  great 
nephew,  repeating  the  request  you  had  made.  I  therefore  put 
the  paper  under  a  blank  cover,  addressed  to  you,  unsealed, 
and  sent  it  to  Peyton  Randolph,  that  he  might  see  what  dates 
as  well  as  what  incidents  might  be  collected,  supplementary  to 
mine,  and  correct  any  which  I  had  inexactly  stated  ;  circum- 
stances may  have  been  misremembered,  but  nothing,  I  think,  ot 
substance.  This  account  of  Peyton  Randolph,  therefore,  you 
may  expect  to  be  forwarded  by  his  nephew. 

You  requested  me  when  here,  to  communicate  to  you  the  par- 
ticulars of  two  transactions  in  which  I  was  myself  an  agent,  to 
wit :  the  coup  de  main  of  Arnold  on  Richmond,  and  Tarleton's 
on  Charlottesville.  I  now  enclose  them,  detailed  with  an  exact- 
ness on  which  you  may  rely  with  an  entire  confidence.  Buf, 
having  an  insuperable  aversion  to  be  drawn  into  controversy  in 
the  public  papers,  I  must  request  not  to  be  quoted  either  as  to 
these  or  the  account  of  Peyton  Randolph.  Accept  the  assur- 
ances of  my  esteem  and  respect. 

22  JEL-FEKSON    S    WORKS. 


MoNTicKi-i.o,  July  SI.  1816. 

Dear  Sib, — Your  favor  of  November  1st  came  but  lately  to 
my  hand.  It  covered  a  prospectus  of  your  code  of  health  and 
longevity,  a  great  and  useful  work,  which  I  shall  be  happy  to 
see  brought  to  a  conclusion.  Like  our  good  old  Franklin,  your 
labors  and  science  go  all  to  the  utilities  of  human  life. 

I  reciprocate  congratulations  with  you  sincerely  on  the  restora- 
tion of  peace  between  our  two  nations.  And  why  should  there 
have  been  war  ?  for  the  party  to  which  the  blame  is  to  be  imput- 
ed, we  appeal  to  the  "  Exposition  of  the  causes  and  character  of 
the  war,"  a  pamphlet  which,  we  are  told,  has  gone  through  some 
editions  with  you.  If  that  does  not  justify  us,  then  the  blame  is 
ours.  But  let  all  this  be  forgotten ;  and  let  both  parties  now 
count  soberly  the  value  of  mutual  friendship.  I  am  satisfied  both 
will  find  that  no  advantage  either  can  derive  from  any  act  of  in- 
justice whatever,  will  be  of  equal  value  with  those  flowing  from 
friendly  intercourse.  Both  ought  to  wish  for  peace  and  cordial 
friendship ;  we,  because  you  can  do  us  more  harm  than  any  other 
nation  ;  and  you,  because  we  can  do  you  more  good  than  any 
other.  Our  growth  is  now  so  well  established  by  regular  enu- 
merations through  a  course  of  forty  years,  and  the  same  grounds 
of  continuance  so  likely  to  endure  for  a  much  longer  period,  that, 
speaking  in  round  numbers,  we  may  safely  call  ourselves  twenty 
millions  in  twenty  years,  and  forty  millions  in  forty  years.  Many 
of  the  statesmen  now  living  saw  the  commencement  of  the  first 
term,  and  many  now  living  will  see  the  end  of  the  second.  It  is 
not  then  a  mere  concern  of  posterity  ;  a  third  of  those  now  in  life 
will  see  that  day.  Of  what  importance  then  to  you  must  such  a 
nation  be,  whether  as  friends  or  foes.  But  is  their  friendship,  dear 
Sir,  to  be  obtained  by  the  irritating  policy  of  fomenting  among 
us  party  discord,  and  a ^  teasing  opposition;  by  bribing  traitors, 
vvhose  sale  of  themselves  proves  they  would  sell  their  pm-chasers 
also,  if  their  treacheries  were  worth  a  price  ?  How  much  cheaper 
would  it  be,  how  much  easier,  more  honorable,  more  magnani- 


mous  and  secure,  to  gain  the  government  itself,  by  a  moral,  a 
friendly,  and  respectful  course  of  conduct,  which  is  all  they 
would  ask  for  a  cordial  and  faithful  return.  I  know  the  difficul- 
ties arising  from  the  irritation,  the  exasperation  produced  on  both 
sides  by  the  late  war.  It  is  great  with  you,  as  I  judge  from  your 
newspapers ;  and  greater  with  us,  as  I  see  myself.  The  reason 
lies  in  the  different  degrees  in  which  the  war  has  acted  on  us. 
To  your  people  it  ,has  been  a  matter  of  distant  history  only,  a 
mere  war  in  the  cafnatic  ;  with  us  it  has  reached  the  bosom  of 
every  man,  woman  and  child.  The  maritime  parts  have  felt  it 
in  the  conflagration  of  their  houses,  and  towns,  and  desolation 
of  their  farms ;  the  borderers  in  the  massacres  and  scalpings  of 
their  husbands,  wives  and  children  ;  and  the  middle  parts  in  their 
personal  labors  and  losses  in  defence  of  both  froiitiers,  and  the  re- 
volting scenes  they  have  there  witnessed.  It  is  not  wonderful 
then,  if  their  irritations  are  extreme.  Yet  time  and  prudence  on 
the  part  of  the  two  governments  may  get  over  these.  Manifesta- 
tions of  cordiality  between  them,  friendly  and  kind  offices  made 
visible  to  the  people  on  both  sides,  will  mollify  their  feelings, 
and  second  the  wishes  of  their  functionaries  to  cultivate  peace, 
and  promote  mutual  interest.  That  these  dispositions  have  been 
«=trong  on  our  part,  in  every  administration  from  the  first  to  ths 
present  one,  that  we  would  at  any  time  have  gone  our  full  half- 
way to  meet  them,  if  a  single  step  in  advance  had  been  taken  hy 
the  other  party,  I  can  affirm  of  my  own  intimate  knowledge  of 
the  fact.  During  the  first  year  of  my  own  administration,  I 
thought  I  discovered  in  the  conduct  of  Mr.  Addington  some 
marks  of  comity  towards  us,  and  a  willingness  to  extend  to  us 
the  decencies  and  duties  observed  towards  other  nations.  My 
desire  to  catch  at  this,  and  to  improve  it  for  the  benefit  of  my 
own  country,  induced  me,  in  addition  to  the  official  declarations 
from  the  Secretary  of  State,  to  write  with  my  own  hand  to  Mr. 
King,  then  our  Minister  Plenipotentiary  at  London,  in  the  follow- 
ing words :  "  I  avail  myself  of  this  occasion  to  assure  you  of 
my  perfect  satisfaction  with  the  manner  in  which  you  have  con- 
uucted  the  several  matters  committed  to  you  by  us ;  and  to  ex- 


press  my  hope  that  through  your  agency,  we  may  be  able  to  re- 
move everything  inauspicious  to  a  cordial  friendship  between  this 
country,  and  the  one  in  which  you  are  stationed ;  a  friendship 
dictated  by  too  many  considerations  not  to  be  felt  by  the  wise 
and  the  dispassionate  of  both  nations.  It  is,  therefore,  with  the 
sincerest  .pleasure  I  have  observed  on  the  part-  of  the  British  gov- 
ernment various  manifestations  of  a  just  and  friendly  disposition 
towards  us ;  'we  wish  to  cultivate  peace  and  friendship  with  all 
nations,  believing  that  course  most  conducive  to  the  welfare  of 
our  own ;  it  is  natural  that  these  friendships  should  bear  some 
proportion  to  the  common  interests  of  the  parties.  The  interest- 
ing relations  between  Great  Britain  and  the  United  States  are 
certainly  of  the  first  order,  and  as  such  are  estimated,  and  will  be 
faithfully  cultivated  by  us.  These  sentiments  have  been  com- 
municated to  you  from  time  to  time,  in  the  official  correspond- 
ence of  the  Secretary  of  State  ;  but  I  have  thought  it  might  not 
be  unacceptable  to  be  assured  that  they  perfectly  concur  with  my 
own  personal  convictions,  both  in  relation  to  yourself,  and  the 
country  in  which  you  are." 

My  expectation  was  that  Mr.  King  would  show  this  lettei  to 
Mr.  Addington,  and  that  it  would  be  received  by  him  as  an  over- 
ture towards  a  cordial  understanding  between  the  two  countries. 
He  left  the  ministry,  however,  and  I  never  heard  more  of  it,  and 
certainly  never  perceived  any  good  eifect  from  it.  I  know  that 
in  the  present  temper,  the  boastful,  the  insolent,  and  the  menda- 
cious newspapers  on  both  sides,  will  present  serious  impediments. 
Ours  will  be  insulting  your  public  authorities,  and  boasting  of 
victories ;  and  yours  will  not  be  sparing  of  provocations  and 
abuses  of  us.  But  if  those  at  our  helms  could  not  place  them- 
selves above  these  pitiful  notices,  and  throwing  aside  all  personal 
feelings,  look  only  to  the  interests  of  their  nations,  they  would  be 
unequal  to  the  trusts  confided  to  them.  I  am  equally  confident, 
on  our  part,  in  the  administration  now  in  place,  as  in  that  which 
will  succeed  it ;  and  that  if  friendship  is  not  hereafter  sincerely 
cultivated,  it  will  not  be  their  fault.  I  will  not,  however,  dis- 
guise that  the  settlement  of  the  practice  of  impressing  our  citi- 


zens  is  a  sirie  qua  non,  a  preliminary,  withoiit  which  treaties  of 
peace  are  but  truces.  But  it  is  impossible  that  reasonable  dispo- 
sitions on  both  parts  should  not  remove  this  stumbling  block, 
which  unremoved,  will  be  an  eternal  obstacle  to  peace,  and  lead 
finally  to  the  deletion  of  the  one  or  the  other  nation.  The  reg- 
ulations necessary  to  keep  your  own  seamen  to  yourselves  are 
those  which  our  interests  would  lead  us  to  adopt,  and  that  inter- 
est would  be  a  guarantee  of  their  observance ;  and  the  transfer 
of  these  questions  ffom  the  cognizance  of  their  naval  command- 
ers to  the  governments  themselves,  would  be  but  an  act  of  mutual 
as  well  as  of  self-respect 

I  did  not  mean,  when  I  began  my  letter,  to  have  indulged  my 
pen  so  far  on  subjects  with  which  I  have  long  ceased  to  have 
connection  ;  but  it  may  do  good,  and  I  will  let  it  go,  for  although 
what  I  write  is  from  no  personal  privity  with  the  views  or  wishes 
of  our  government,  yet  believing  them  to  be  what  they  ought  to 
be,  and  confident  in  their  wisdom  and  integrity,  I  am  sure  I 
hazard  no  deception  in  what  I  have  said  of  them,  and  I  shall  be 
happy  indeed  if  some  good  shall  result  to  both  our  countries, 
from  this  renewal  of  our  correspondence  and  ancient  friendship. 
1  recall  with  great  pleasure  the  days  of  our  former  intercourse, 
personal  and  epistolary,  and  can  assure  you  with  truth  that  in  no 
instant  of  time  has  there  been  any  abatement  of  my  great  esteem 
and  respect  for  you. 

TO    MB.    ADAMS. 

MONTICKI.LO,  AuSfUSt.   I.    ISl.fl. 

Dear  Sib, — Your  two  philosophical  letters  of  May  4th  and 
6th  have  been  too  long  in  my  carton  of  "  letters  to  be  an- 
swered." To  the  question,  indeed,  on  the  utility  of  grief,  no  an- 
swer remains  to  be  given.  You  have  exhausted  the  subject.  I 
see  that,  with  the  other  evils  of  Ufe,  it  is  destined  to  temper  the 
cup  we  are  to  drink. 


Two  trns  by  Jore's  high  throne  have  ever  stood, 
The  source  of  evil  one,  and  one  of  good ; 
From  thence  the  cup  of  mortal  man  he  fills, 
Blessings  to  these,  to  those  distributes  ills ;. 
To  most  he  mingles  both. 

Putting  to  myself  your  question,  •would  I  agree  to  live  mj 
seventy-three  years  over  again  forever  ?  I  hesitate  to  say.  With 
Chew's  limitations  from  twenty-five  to  sixty,  I  would  say  yes  ; 
and  I  might  go  further  back,  but  not  come  lower  down.  For, 
at  the  latter  period,  with  most  of  us,  the  powers  of  life  are  sensi- 
bly on  the  wane,  sight  becomes  dim,  hearing  dull,  memory  con- 
stantly enlarging  its  frightful  blank  and  parting  with  all  we  have 
ever  seen  or  known,  spirits  evaporate,  bodily  debility  creeps  on 
palsying  every  limb,  and  so  faculty  after  faculty  quits  us,  and 
where  then  is  life  ?  If,  in  its  full  rigcr,  of  good  as  well  as  evil, 
your  friend  Vassall  could  doubt  its  value,  it  must  be  purely  a  neg- 
ative quantity  when  its  evils  alone  remain.  Yet  I  do  not  go 
into  his  opinion  entirely.  I  do  not  agree  that  an  age  of  pleasure 
is  no  compensation  for  a  moment  of  pain.  1  think,  with  you, 
that  life  is  a  fair  matter  of  account,  and  the  balance  often,  nay 
generally,  in  its  favor.  It  is  not  indeed  easy,  by  calculation  of 
intensity  and  time,  to  apply  a  common  measure,  or  to  fix  the 
par  between  pleasure  and  pain ;  yet  it  exists,  and  is  measurable. 
On  the  question,  for  example,  whether  to  be  cut  for  the  stone  r 
The  young,  with  a  longer  prospect  of  years,  think  these  over- 
balance the  pam  of  the  operation.  Dr.  Franklin,  at  the  age  of 
eighty,  thought  his  residuum  of  life  not  worth  that  price.  1 
should  have  thought  with  him,  even  taking  the  stone  out  of  the 
scale.  There  is  a  ripeness  of  time  for  death,  regarding  others  as 
well  as  ourselves,  when  it  is  reasonable  we  should  drop  off,  and 
make  room  for  another  growth.  When  we  have  lived  our  gener- 
ation out,  we  should  not  wish  to  encroach  on  another.  I  enjoy 
good  health  ;  I  am  happy  in  what  is  around  me,  yet  I  assure  you 
I  am  ripe  for  leaving  all,  this  year,  this  day,  this  hour.  If  it 
could  be  doubted  whether  we  would  go  back  to  twenty-five, 
bow  can  it  be  whether  we  would  go  forward  from  seventy -three  } 


Bodily  decay  is  gloomy  in  prospect,  but  of  all  humai.  contem- 
plations the  most  abhorrent  is  body  without  mind.  Perhaps, 
however,  I  might  accept  of  time  to  read  Grimm  before  I  go. 
Fifteen  volumes  of  anecdotes  and  incidents,  within  the  compass 
of  my  own  time  and  cognizance,  written  by  a  man  of  genius,  of 
taste,  of  point,  an  acquaintance,  the  measure  and  traverses  of 
whose  mind  I  know,  could  not  fail  to  turn  the  scale  in  favor  of 
life  during  their  perusal.  I  must  write  to  Ticknor  to  add  it  to 
my  catalogue,  and  hold  on  till  it  comes.  There  is  a  Mr.  Vander- 
kemp  of  New  York,  a  correspondent,  I  believe,  of  yours,  with 
whom  I  have  exchanged  some  letters  without  knowing  who  he 
is.  Will  you  tell  me  ?  I  know  nothing  of  the  history  of  the 
Jesuits  you  mention  in  four  volumes.  Is  it  a  good  one  ?  I  dis- 
like, with  you,  their  restoration,  because  it  marks  a  retrograde 
step  from  light  towards  darkness.  We  shall  have  our  follies 
without  doubt.  Some  one  or  more  of  them  will  always  be 
afloat.  But  ours  will  be  the  follies  of  enthusiasm,  not  of  bigotry, 
not  of  Jesuitism.  Bigotry  is  the  disease  of  ignorance,  of  morbid 
minds ;  enthusiasm  of  the  free  and  buoyant.  Education  and 
free  discussion  are  the  antidotes  of  both.  We  are  destined  to  be 
a  barrier  against  the  returns  of  ignorance  and  barbarism.  Old 
Europe  will  have  to  lean  on  our  shoulders,  and  to  hobble  along 
by  our  side,  under  the  monkish  trammels  of  priests  and  kings, 
as  she  can.  What  a  colossus  shall  we  be  when  the  southern 
continent  comes  up  to  our  mark  !  What  a  stand  will  it  secure  as 
a  ralliance  for  the  reason  and  freedom  of  the  globe  !  I  like  the 
dreams  of  the  future  better  than  the  history  of  the  past, — so  good 
night !  I  will  dream  on,  always  fancying  that  Mrs.  Adams  and 
yourself  are  by  my  side  marking  the  progress  and  the  obliqui- 
ties of  ages  and  countries. 

TO    MBS.    M.    HARBISON    SMITH. 

MoNTio'isLi.o,  August  6,  1816. 

I  have  received,  dear  Madam,  your  very  friendly  letter  of  Jidy 
21st,  and  assure  you  that  I  feel  with  deep  sensibility  its  kind  ex- 


pressioi^s  tt  wards  myself,  and  the  more  as  from  a  person  than 
whom  no  others  could  be  more  in  sympathy  with  my  own  af- 
fections. I  often  call  to  mind  the  occasions  of  knowing  your 
worth,  which  the  societies  of  Washington  furnished ;  and  none 
more  than  those  derived  from  your  much  valued  visit  to  Monti- 
cello.  I  recognize  the  same  motives  of  goodness  in  the  solici- 
tude you  express  on  the  rumor  supposed  to  proceed  from  a  letter 
of  mine  to  Charles  Thomson,  on  the  subject  of  the  Christian  re- 
ligion. It  is  true  that,  in  writing  to  the  translator  of  the  Bible 
and  Testament,  that  subject  was  mentioned  ;  but  equally  so  that 
no  adherence  to  any  particular  mode  of  Christianity  "was  there 
expressed,  nor  any  change  of  opinions  suggested.  A  change 
from  what  ?  the  priests  indeed  have  heretofore  thought  proper  to 
ascribe  to  me  religious,  or  rather  anti-religious  sentiments,  of 
their  own  fabric,  but  such  as  soothed  their  resentments  against  the 
act  of  Virginia  for  establishing  religious  freedom.  They  wished 
him  to  be  thought  atheist,  deist,  or  devil,  who  could  advocate 
freedom  from  their  religious  dictations.  But  I  have  ever  thought 
religion  a  concern  purely  between  our  God  and  our  consciences, 
for  which  we  were  accountable  to  him,  and  not  to  the  priests. 
I  never  told  my  own  religion,  nor  scrutinized  that  of  another.  I 
never  attempted  to  make  a  convert,  nor  wished  to  change  anoth- 
er's creed.  I  have  ever  judged  of  the  religion  of  others  by  their 
lives,  and  by  this  test,  my  dear  Madam,  I  have  been  satisfied 
yours  must  be  an  excellent  one,  to  have  produced  a  life  of  such 
exemplary  virtue  and  correctness.  For  it  is  in  our  lives,  and  not 
from  our  words,  that  our  religion  must  be  read.  By  the  same 
test  the  world  must  judge  me.  But  this  does  not  satisfy  the 
priesthood.  They  must  have  a  positive,  a  declared  assent  to  all 
their  interested  absurdities.  My  opinion  is  that  there  would 
never  have  been  an  infidel,  if  there  had  never  been  a  priest. 
The  artificial  structures  they  have  built  on  the  purest  of  all  moral 
systems,  for  the  purpose  of  deriving  from  it  pence  and  power,  re- 
volts those  who  think  for  themselves,  and  who  read  in  that  sys- 
tem only  what  is  really  there.  These,  therefore,  they  brand  with 
such  nick-names  as  their  enmity  choses  gratuitously  to  impute.- 



I  have  left  the  world,  in  silence,  to  judge  of  causes  from  their 
effects  ;  and  I  am  consoled  in  this  course,  my  dear  friend,  when 
I  perceive  the  candor  with  which  I  am  judged  by  your  justice 
and  discernment ;  and  that,  notwithstanding  the  slanders  of  the 
saints,  my  fellow  citizens  have  thought  me  worthy  of  trusts. 
The  imputations  of  irreligion  having  spent  their  force  ;  they  think 
an  imputation  of  change  might  now  be  turned  to  account  as  a 
bolster  for  their  duperies.  I  shall  leave  them,  as  heretofore,  to 
grope  on  in  the  dark. 

Our  family  at  Monticello  is  all  in  good  health  ;  Ellen  speaking 
of  you  with  affection,  and  Mrs.  Randolph  always  regretting  the 
accident  which  so  far  deprived  her  of  the  happiness  of  your  for- 
mer visit.  She  still  cherishes  the  hope  of  some  future  renewal 
of  that  kindness ;  in  which  we  all  join  her,  as  in  the  assurances 
of  affectionate  attachment  and  respect. 


Quivcv,  August  9,  1816. 

Deab  Sir, — The  biography  of  Mr.  Vander  Kemp  would  re- 
quire a  volume  which  I  could  not  write  if  a  million  were  offered 
me  as  a  reward  for  the  work.  After  a  learned  and  scientific  ed- 
ucation he  entered  the  army  in  Holland,  and  served  as  captain, 
with  reputation ;  but  loving  books  more  than  arms  he  resigned 
his  commission  and  became  a  preacher.  My  acquaintance  with 
him  commenced  at  Leydeh  in  1790.  He  was  then  minister  of 
the  Menonist  congregation,  the  richest  in  Europe ;  in  that  city, 
where  he  was  celebrated' as  the  most  elegant  writer  in  the  Dutch 
language,  he  was  the  intimate  friend  of  Luzac  and  De  Gyse- 
caar.  In  1788,  when  the  King  of  Prussia  threatened  Holland 
with  invasion,  his  party  insisted  on  his  taking  a  command  in  the 
army  of  defence,  and  he  was  appointed  to  the  command  of  the 
most  exposed  and  most  important  post  in  the  seven  provinces. 
He  was  soon  surrounded  by  the  Prussian  forces ;  but  he  defended 
his  forti'^ss  with  a  prudence,  fortitude,  patience,  and  perseverance, 


which  were  admired  by  all  Europe  ;  till,  abandoned  by  his  na- 
tion, destitute  of  provisions  and  ammunition,  still  refusing  to  sur- 
render, he  was  offered  the  most  honorable  capitulation.  He  ac- 
cepted it ;  was  offered  very  advantageous  proposals  ;  but  despair- 
ing of  the  liberties  of  his  country,  he  retired  to  Antwerp,  deter- 
mined to  emigrate  to  New  York ;  wrote  to  me  in  London,  re- 
questing letters  of  introduction.  I  sent  him  letters  to  Governor 
Clinton,  and  several  others  of  our  little  great  men.  His  history 
in  .this  country  is  equally  curious  and  affecting.  He  left  property 
in  Holland,  which  the  revolutions  there  have  anr.''^'lited ;  and  I 
fear  is  now  pinched  with  poverty.  His  head  is  deeply  learned 
and  his  heart  is  pure.    I  scarcely  know  a  more  amiable  character. 

*jfc  Jt.  Jt.  Jfc.  .It.  -M- 

T^  TP  'Tr  TV"  ^r  "re" 

He  has  written  to  me  occasionally,  and  I  have  answered  his 
letters  in  great  haste.  You  may  well  suppose  that  such  a  man 
has  not  always  been  able  to  understand  our  American  politics. 
Nor  have  I.  Had  he  been  as  great  a  master  of  our  language  as 
he  was  of  his  own,  he  would  have  been  at  this  day  one  of  the 
most  conspicuous  characters  in  the  United  States. 

So  much  for  Vander  Kemp  ;  now  for  your  letter  of  August  1st. 
Your  poet,  the  Ionian  I  suppose,  ought  to  have  told  us  whether 
Jove,  in  the  distribution  of  good  and  evil  from  his  two  urns,  ob- 
serves any  rule  of  equity  or  not ;  whether  he  thunders  out  flames 
of  eternal  fire  on  the  many,  and  power,  and  glory,  and  felicity  on 
the  few,  without  any  consideration  of  justice  ? 

Let  us  state  a  few  questions  sub  rosd. 

1.  Would  you  accept  a  life,  if  offered  you,  of  equal  pleasure 
and  pain  ?  For  example.  One  million  of  moments  of  pleasure,  and 
one  million  of  moments  of  pain  !  (1,000,000  moments  of  pleas- 
use=  1,000,000  moments  of  pain.)  Suppose  the  pleasure  as  ex- 
quisite as.  any  in  life,  and  the  pain  as  exquisite  as  any ;  for  ex- 
ample, stone-gravel,  gout,,  headache,  earache,  toothache,  cholic, 
&c.     I  would  not.     I  would  rather  be  blotted  out. 

2f  Would  ■  you  accept  a  life  of  one  year  of  incessant  gout, 
headache,  &c.,  for  seventy-two  years  of  such  life  as  you  have 
enjoyed?     I  would  not.     (One  year  of  cholic  =  seventy-two  of 


Boule  de  Savon  ;  pretty,  but  unsubstantial.)  I  had  rather  be  ex- 
tinguished. You  may  vary  these  Algebraical  equations  at  pleas- 
ure and  without  end.  All, this  ratiocination,  calculation,  call  it 
what  you  will,  is  founded  on  the  supposition  of  no  future  state. 
Promise  me  eternal  life  free  from  pain,  although  in  all  other  re- 
spects no  better  than  our  present  terrestrial  existence,  I  know  not 
how  many  thousand  years  of  Smithfield  fevers  I  would  not  en- 
dure to  obtain  it.  In  fine,  without  the  supposition  of  a  future 
state,  mankind  and  this  globe  appear  to  me  the  most  sublime  and 
beautiful  bubble,  and  bauble,  that  imagination  can  conceive. 

Let  us  then  wish  for  immortality  at  all  hazards,  and  trust  the 
Ruler  with  his  skies.  I  do ;  and  earnestly  wish  for  his  com- 
mands, which  to  the  utmost  of  my  power  shall  be  implicitly  and 
piously  obeyed. 

It  is  worth  while  to  live  to  read  Grimm,  whom  I  have  read ; 
and*-La  Harpe  and  Mademoiselle  D'Espinasse  the  fair  friend  of 
D'Alembert,  both  of  whom  Grimm  characterizes  very  distinguish- 
ed, and  are,  I  am  told,  in  print.  I  have  not  seen  them,  but  hope 
soon  to  have  them. 

My  history  of  the  Jesuits  is  not  elegantly  written,  but  is  sup- 
ported by  unquestionable  authorities,  is  very  particular  and  very 
horrible.     Their  restoration  is  indeed  a  "  step  towards  darkness," 

cruelty,  perfidy,  despotism,  death  and !     I  wish  we  were 

out  of  "  danger  of  bigotry  and  Jesuitism"  !  May  we  be  "  a  bar- 
rier against  the  returns  of  ignorance  and  barbarism"!  "  What  a 
colossus  shall  we  be"  !  But  will  it  not  be  of  brass,  iron  and 
clay?  Your  taste  is  judicious  in  liking  better  the  dreams  of  the 
future,  than  the  history  of  the  past.  Upon  this  principle  I  proph- 
ecy that  you  and  I  shall  soon  meet,  and  be  better  friends  thau 
ever.     So  wishes,  J-  A. 

TO    MB.    ISAAC    H.    TEFFANY. 

MoNTicELLO,   A'ligiist  26,  1816. 

SiK, — In  answer  to  your  inquiry  as  to  the  merits  of  Gillies' 
translation  of  the  Politics  of  Aristotle,  I  can  only  say  that  it  has 


the  reputation  of  being  preferable  to  Ellis',  the  only  rival  trans- 
lation into  English.  I  have  never  seen  it  myself,  and  therefore 
do  not  speak  of  it  from  my  own  knowledge.  Bat  so  different 
was  the  style  of  society  then,  and  with  those  people,  from  what 
it  is  now  and  with  lis,  that  I  think  little  edification  can  be  ob- 
tained from  their  writings  on  the  subject  of  government.  They 
had  just  ideas  of  the  value  of  personal  liberty,  but  none  at  all  of 
the  structure  of  government  best  calculated  to  preserve  it.  They 
knew  no  medium  between  a  democracy  (the  only  pure  republic, 
but  impracticable  beyond  the  hmits  of  a  town)  and  an  abandon- 
ment of  themselves  t®  an  aristocracy,  or  a  tyranny  independent  of 
the  people.  It  seems  not  to  have  occurred  that  where  the  citizens 
cannot  meet  to  transact  their  business  in  person,  they  alone  have 
the  right  to  choose  the  agents  who  shall  transact  it ;  and  that  in 
this  way  a  republican,  or  popular  government,  of  the  second  grade 
of  purity,  may  be  exercised  over  any  extent  of  country.  The 
full  experiment  of  a  government  democratical,  but  representative, 
was  and  is  still  reserved  for  us.  The  idea  (taken,  indeed,  from 
the  little  specimen  formerly  existing  in  the  English  constitution, 
but  now  lost)  has  been  carried  by  us,  more  or  less,  inlo  all  our 
legislative  and  executive  departments  ;  but  it  has  not  yet,  by  any 
of  us,  been  pushed  into  all  the  ramifications  of  the  system,  so 
far  as  to  leave  no  authority  existing  not  responsible  to  the  people  ; 
whose  rights,  however,  to  the  exercise  and  fruits  of  their  own 
industry,  can  never  be  protected  against  the  selfishness  of  rulers 
not  subject  to  their  control  at  short  periods.  The  mtroduction 
of  this  new  principle  of  representative  democracy  has  rendered 
useless  almost  everything  written  before  on  the  structure  of  gov- 
ernment ;  and,  in  a  great  measure,  relieves  our  regret,  if  the  politi- 
cal writings  of  Aristotle,  or  of  any  other  ancient,  have  been  lost, 
or  are  unfaithfully  rendered  or  explained  to  us.  My  most  ear- 
nest wish  is  to  see  the  republican  element  of  popular  control 
pushed  to  the  maximum  of  its  practicable  exercise.  I  shall  then 
believe  that  our  government  may  be  pure  and  perpetual.  Ac- 
cept my  respectful  salutations 



QuiNCT,  September  3,  1816. 

Dear  Sib, — Dr.  James  Freeman  is  a  learned,  ingenious,  hon- 
est and  benevolent  man,  who  wishes  to  see  President  Jefferson, 
and  requests  me  to  introduce  him.  If  you  would  introduce  some 
of  your  friends  to  me.  I  could,  with  more  confidence,  introduce 
mine  to  you.  He  is  a  Christian,  but  not  a  Pythagorian,  a  Pla- 
tonic, or  a  Philonic  Christian.  You  will  ken  him,  and  he  will 
ken  you ;  but  you  may  depend  he  will  never  betray,  deceive,  or 
injure  you. 

Without  hinting  to  him  anything  which  had  passed  between 
you  and  nre,  I  asked  him  your  question,  "What  are  the  uses  of 
grief?"  He  stared,  and  said  "  The  question  was  new  to  him." 
All  he  could  say  at  present  was,  that  he  had  known,  in  his  own 
parish,  more  than  one  instance  of  ladies  who  had  been  thoughtless, 
modish,  extravagant  in  a  high  degree,  who,  upon  the  death  of 
a  child,  had  become  thoughtful,  modest,  humble;  as  prudent, 
amiable  women  as  any  he  had  known.  Upon  this  I  read  to  him 
your  letters  and  mine  upon  this  subject  of  grief,  with  which  he 
seemed  to  be  pleased.  You  see  I  was  not  afraid  to  trust  him, 
and  you  need  not  be. 

Since  I  am,  accidentally,  invited  to  write  to  you,  I  may  add  a 
few  words  upon  pleasures  and  pains  of  life.  Vassall  thought,  an 
hundred  years,  nay,  an  eternity  of  pleasure,  was  no  compensa- 
tion for  one  hour  of  bihous  cholic.  Read  again  Molliores  Spsyke, 
act  2d,  scene  1st,  on  the  subject  of  grief.  And  read  in  another 
place,  "  on  est  paye  de  mille  maux,  par  un  heureux  moment." 
Thus  differently  do  men  speak  of  pleasures  and  pains.  Now, 
Sir,  I  will  tease  you  with  another  question.  What  have  been 
the  abuses  of  grief  ? 

In  answer  to  this  question,  I  doubt  not  you  might  write  an 
hundred  volumes.  A  few  hints  may  convince  you  that  the  sub- 
ject is  ample. 

1st.  The  death  of  Socrates  excited  a  general  sensibility  of 
grief  at  Athens,  in  Attica,  and  in  all  Greece.     Plato  and  Xeho- 

VOL.  VII.  3 


phon,  two  of  his  disciples,  took  advantage  of  that  sentiment,  by 
emj)ioying  their  encViauting  style  to  represent  their  master  to  be 
greater  and  better  than  he  probably  was ;  and  what  have  been 
the  effects  of  Socratic,  Platonic,  which  were  Pythagorian,  which 
was  Indian  philosophy,  in  the  world  ? 

2d.  The  death  of  Caesar,  tyrant  as  he  was,  spread  a  general 
compassion,  which  always  includes  grief,  among  the  Romans. 
The  scoundrel  Mark  Antony  availed  himself  of  this  momentary 
grief  to  destroy  the  republic,  to  establish  the  empire,  and  to  pro- 
scribe Cicero. 

3d.  But  to  skip  over  all  ages  and  nations  for  the  present,  and 
descend  to  our  own  times.  The  death  of  Washington  diffused  a 
general  grief.  The  old  tories,  the  hyperfederalists,  the  specula- 
tors, set  up  a  general  howl.  Orations,  prayers,  sermons,  mock 
funerals,  were  all  employed,  not  that  they  loved  Washington, 
but  to  keep  in  countenance  the  funding  and  banking  system  ;  and 
to  cast  into  the  background  and  the  shade,  all  others  who  had 
been  concerned  in  the  service  of  their  country  in  the  Revolution. 

4th.  The  death  of  Hamilton,  under  all  its  circumstances,  pro- 
duced a  general  grief  His  most  determined  enemies  did  not 
like  to  get  rid  of  him  in  that  way.  They  pitied,  too,  his  widow 
and  children.  His  party  seized  the  moment  of  public  feeling  to 
come  forward  with  funeral  orations,  and  printed  panegyrics,  re- 
inforced with  mock  funerals  and  solemn  grimaces,  and  all  this 
by  people  who  have  buried  Otis,  Sam  Adams,  Hancock,  and 
Gerry,  in  comparative  obscurity.  And  why  ?  Merely  to  disgrace 
the  old  Whigs,  and  keep  the  funds  and  banks  in  countenance. 

5th.  The  death  of  Mr.  Ames  excited  a  general  regret.  His 
long  consumption,  his  amiable  character,  and  reputable  talents, 
had  attracted  a  general  interest,  and  his  death  a  general 
mourning.  His  party  made  the  most  of  it,  by  processions, 
orations,  and  a  mock  funeral.  And  why  ?  To  glorify  the 
Tories,  to  abash  the  Whigs,  and  maintain  the  reputation  of 
fimds,  banks,  and  speculation.  And  all  this  was  done  in  honor 
of  that  insignificant  boy,  by  people  who  have  let  a  Dance  a 
Gerry,  and  a  Dexter,  go  to  their  graves  without  notice. 


6th.  I  almost  shxidder  at  the  thought  of  alluding  to  the  most 
fatal  example  of  the  abuses  of  grief  which  the  history  of  man- 
kind has  preserved — The  Cross.  Consider  what  calamities  that 
engine  of  grief  has  produced  !  With  the  rational  respect  which 
is  due  to  it,  knavish  priests  have  added  prostitutions  of  it,  that 
fill,  or  might  fill,  the  blackest  and  bloodiest  pages  of  human 

I  am  with  ancient  friendly  sentiments, 


MoNTicELLO,  September  5,  1816. 

Sir, — ^Your  letter  of  August  the  16th  is  just  received.  That 
which  I  wrote  to  you  under  the  address  of  H.  Tompkinson,  was 
intended  for  the  author  of  the  pamphlet  you  were  so  kind  as  to 
send  me,  and  therefore,  in  your  hands,  found  its  true  destination. 
But  I  must  beseech  you.  Sir,  not  to  admit  a  possibility  of  its 
being  published.  Many  good  people  will  revolt  from  its  doc- 
trines, and  my  wish  is  to  offend  nobody ;  to  leave  to  those  who 
are  to  live  under  it,  the  settlement'of  their  own  constitution,  and 
to  pass  in  peace  the  remainder  of  my  time.  If  those  opinions 
are  sound,  they  will  occur  to  others,  and  will  prevail  by  their 
own  weight,  without  the  aid  of  names,  I  am  glad  to  see  that 
the  Staunton  meeting  has  rejected  the  idea  of  a  limited  conven- 
tion. The  article,  however,  nearest  my  heart,  is  the  division  of 
counties  into  wards.  These  will  be  pure  and  elementary  repub- 
lics, the  sum  of  all  which,  taken  together,  composes  the  State, 
and  will  make  of  the  whole  a  true  democracy  as  to  the  business 
of  the  wards,  which  is  that  of  nearest  and  daily  concern.  The 
aifairs  of  the  larger  sections,  of  counties,  of  States,  and  of  the 
Union,  not  admitting  personal  transaction  by  the  people,  will  be 
delegated  to  agents  elected  by  themselves ;  and  representation 
will  thus  be  substituted,  where  personal  action  becomes  imprac- 
ticable. Yet,  even  over  these  representative  organs,  should  they 
become  corrupt  and  perverted,  the  division  into  wards  constitut- 


ing  the  people,  in  their  wards,  a  regularly  organized  power,  en- 
ables  them  by  that  organization  to  crush,  regularly  and  peace- 
ably, the  usurpations  of  their  unfaithful  agents,  and  rescues  them 
from  the  dreadful  necessity  of  doing  it  insurrectionally.  In  this 
way  we  shall  be  as  republican  as  a  large  society  can  be ;  and 
secure  the  continuance  of  purity  in  our  government,  by  the  salu- 
tary, peaceable,  and  regular  control  of  the  people.  No  other 
depositories  of  power  have  ever  yet  been  found,  which  did  not 
end  in  converting  to  their  own  profit  the  earnings  of  those  com- 
mitted to  their  charge.  George  the  III.  in  execution  of  the  trust 
confided  to  him,  has,  within  his  own  day,  loaded  the  inhabitants 
of  Great  Britain  with  debts  equal  to  the  whole  fee-simple  value 
of  their  island,  and  imder  pretext  of  governing  it,  has  alienated 
its  whole  soil  to  creditors  who  could  lend  money  to  be  lavished 
on  priests,  pensions,  plunder  and  perpetual  war.  This  would  not 
have  been  so,  had  the  people  retained  organized  means  of  acting 
on  their  agents.  In  this  example  then,  let  us  read  a  lesson  for 
ourselves,  and  not  "  go  and  do  likewise." 

Since  writing  my  letter  of  July  the  12th,  I  have  been  told, 
that  on  the  question  of  equal  representation,  our  fellow  citizens  in 
some  sections  of  the  State  claim  peremptorily  a  right  of  repre- 
sentation for  their  slaves.  Principle  will,  in  this,  as  in  most  other 
cases,  open  the  way  for  us  to  correct  conclusion.  Were  our  State 
a  pure  democracy,  in  which  all  its  inhabitants  should  meet  together 
to  transact  all  their  business,  there  would  yet  be  excluded  from 
their  deliberations,  1,  infants,  until  arrived  at  years  of  discretion. 
2.  Women,  who,  to  prevent  depravation  of  morals  and  ambiguity 
of  issue,  could  not  mix  promiscuously  in  th§  public;  meetings  of 
men.  3.  Slaves,  from  whom  the  unfortunate  state  of  things  with 
us  takes  away  the  rights  of  will  and  of  property.  Those  then 
who  have  no  will  could  be  permitted  to  exercise  none  in  the  pop- 
ular assembly ;  and  of  course,  could  delegate  none  to  an  agent 
in  a  representative  assembly.  The  business,  in  the  first  case, 
would  be  done  by  qualified  citizens  only.  It  is  true,  that  in 
the  general  constitution,  our  State  is  allowed  a  larger  representa- 
tion on  account  of  its  slaves.     But  every  one  knows,  that  that 


constitution  was  a  matter  of  compromise  ;  a  capitulation  between 
conflicting  interests  and  opinions.  In  truth,  the  condition  of  dif- 
ferent descriptions  of  inhabitants  in  any  coimtry  is  a  matter  of 
municipal  arrangement,  of  which  no  foreign  country  has  a  right 
to  take  notice.  All  its  inhabitants  are  men  as  to  them.  Thus,  in 
the  New  England  States,  none  have  the  powers  of  citizens  but 
those  whom  they  cbW.  freemen  ;  and  none  axe  freemen  until  ad- 
mitted by  a  vote  of  the  freemen  of  the  town.  Yet,  in  the  Gen- 
eral Government,  these  non-freemen  are  counted  in  their  quantum 
of  representation  and  of  taxation.  So,  slaves  with  us  have  no 
powers  as  citizens  ;  yet,  in  representation  in  the  General  Govern- 
ment, they  count  in  the  proportion  of  three  to  five ;  and  so  also 
in  taxation.  Whether  this  is  equal,  is  not  here  the  question.  It 
is  a  capitulation  of  discordant  sentiments  and  circumstances,  and 
is  obligatory  on  that  ground.  But  this  view  shows  there  is  no 
inconsistency  in  claiming  representation  for  them  for  the  other 
States,  and  refusing  it  within  our  own.  Accept  the  renewal  of 
assurances  of  my  respect. 


MoNTiOELLO,  October  14, 1816. 

Your  letter,  dear  Sir,  of  May  the  6th,  had  already  well  ex- 
plained the  uses  of  grief.  That  of  September  the  3d,  with  equal 
truth,  adduces  instances  of  its  abuse  ;  and  when  we  put  into  the 
same  scale  these  abuses,  with  the  afflictions  of  soul  which  even 
the  uses  of  grief  cost  us,  we  may  conside;r  its  value  in  the  eco- 
nomy of  the  human  being,  as  equivocal  at  least.  Those  afflictions 
cloud  too  great  a  portion  of  life  to  find  a  counterpoise  in  any 
benefits  derived  from  its  uses.  For  setting  aside  its  paroxysms 
on  the  occasions  of  special  bereavements,  all  the  latter  years  of 
aged  men  are  overshadowed  with  its  gloom.  Whither,  for  in- 
stance, can  you  and  I  look  without  seeing  the  graves  of  those 
we  have  known  ?  And  whom  can  we  call  up,  of  our  early  com 
pamons,  who  has  not  left  us  to  regret  his  loss  ?     This,  indeed 


may  be  one  of  the  salutary  effects  of  grief;  inasmuch  as  it  pre- 
pares us  to  loose  ourselves  also  without  repugnance.  Doctor 
Freeman's  instances  of  female  levity  cured  by  grief,  are  certainly 
to  the  point,  and  constitute  an  item  of  credit  in  the  account  we 
examine.  I  was  much  mortified  by  the  loss  of  the  Doctor's  visit, 
by  my  absence  from  home.  To  have  shown  how  much  I  feel 
indebted  to  you  for  making  good  people  known  to  me,  would 
have  been  one  pleasure  ;  and  to  have  enjoyed  that  of  his  conver- 
sation, and  the  benefits  of  his  information,  so  favorably  reported 
by  my  family,  would  have  been  another.  I  returned  home  on 
the  third  day  after  his  departure.  The  loss  of  such  visits  is  among 
the  sacrifices  which  my  divided  residence  costs  me. 

Your  undertaking  the  twelve  volumes  of  Dupuis,  is  a  degree  of 
heroism  to  which  I  could  not  have  aspired  even  in  my  younger 
days.  I  have  been  contented  with  the  humble  achievement  of 
reading  the  analysis  of  his  work  by  Destutt  Tracy,  in  two  hun- 
dred pages  octavo.  I  believe  I  should  have  ventured  on  his  own 
abridgment  of  the  work,  in  one  octavo  volume,  had  it  ever  come 
to  my  hands  ;  but  the  marrow  of  it  in  Tracy  has  satisfied  my  ap- 
petite ;  and  even  in  that,  the  preliminary  discourse  of  the  analyzer 
himself,  and  his  conclusion,  are  worth  more  in  my  eye  than  the 
body  of  the  work.  For  the  object  of  that  seems  to  be  to  smother 
all  history  under  the  mantle  of  allegory.  If  histories  so  unlike  as 
those  of  Hercules  and  Jesus,  can,  by  a  fertile  imagination  and  al- 
legorical interpretations,  be  brought  to  the  same  tally,  no  line  of 
distinction  remains  between  fact  and  fancy.  As  this  pithy  morsel 
will  not  overburthen  the  mail  in  passing  and  repassing  between 
Quincy  and  Monticello,  I  send  it  for  your  perusal.  Perhaps  it 
will  satisfy  you,  as  it  has  me ;  and  may  save  you  the  labor  of 
reading  twenty-four  times  its  volume.  I  have  said  to  you  that  it 
was  written  by  Tracy ;  and  I  had  so  entered  it  on  the  title  page, 
as  I  usually  do  on  anonymous  works  whose  authors  are  known  to 
me.  But  Tracy  requested  me  not  to  betray  his  anonyme,  for 
reasons  which  may  not  yet,  perhaps,  have  ceased  to  weigh.  I  am 
bound,  then,  to  make  the  same  reserve  with  you.  Destutt  Tracy 
is,  in  my  judgment,  the  ablest  writer  living  on  intellectual  sub- 


jects,  or  the  operations  of  the  understanding.  His  three  octavo 
vohimes  on  Ideology,  which  constitute  the  foundation  of  what 
he  has  since  written,  I  have  not  entirely  read  ;  because  I  am  not 
fond  of  reading  what  is  merely  abstract,  and  unapplied  im- 
mediately to  some  useful  science.  Bonaparte,  with  his  repeated 
derisions  of  Ideologists  (squinting  at  this  author),  has  by  this  time 
felt  that  true  wisdom  does  not  lie  in  mere  practice  without  prin- 
ciple. The  next  work  Tracy  wrote  was  the  Comnaentary  on 
Montesquieu,  never  published  in  the  original,  because  not  safe ; 
but  translated  and  published  in  Philadelphia,  yet  without  the 
author's  name.  He  has  since  permitted  his  name  to  be  men- 
tioned. Although  called  a  Commentary,  it  is,  in  truth,  an  ele- 
mentary work  on  the  principles  of  government,  comprised  in 
about  three  hundred  pages  octavo.  He  has  lately  published  a 
third  work,  on  Political  Economy,  comprising  the  whole  subject 
within  about  the  same  compass ;  in  which  all  its  principles  are 
demonstrated  with  the  severity  of  Euclid,  and,  like  him,  without 
ever  using  a  superfluous  word.  I  have  procured  this  to  be  trans- 
lated, and  have  been  four  years  endeavoring  to  get  it  printed ; 
but  as  yet,  without  success.  In  the  meantime,  the  author  has 
published  the  original  in  France,  which  he  thought  unsafe  while 
Bonaparte  was  in  power.  No  printed  copy,  I  believe,  has  yet 
reached  this  country.  He  has  his  fourth  and  last  work  now  in 
the  press  at  Paris,  closing,  as  he  conceives,  the  circle  of  meta- 
physical sciences.  This  work,  which  is  on  Ethics,  I  have  not 
seen,  but  suspect  I  shall  differ  from  it  in  its  foundation,  although 
not  in  its  deductions.  I  gather  from  his  other  works  that  he 
adopts  the  principle  of  Hobbes,  that  justice  is  founded  in  contract 
solely,  and  does  not  result  from  the  construction  of  man.  I  be- 
lieve, on  the  contrary,  that  it  is  instinct  and  innate,  that  the  moral 
sense  is  as  much  a  part  of  our  constitution  as  that  of  feeling,  see- 
ing, or  hearing  ;  as  a  wise  creator  must  have  seen  to  be  necessary 
in  an  animal  destined  to  live  in  society ;  that  every  human  mind 
feels  pleasure  in  doing  good  to  another ;  that  the  non-existence 
of  justice  is  not  to  be  inferred  from  the  fact  that  the  same  act  is 
deemed  virtuous  and  right  in  one  society  which  is  held  vicious 


and  wrong  in  another ;  because,  as  the  circumstances  and  opin 
ions  of  different  societies  vary,  so  the  acts  which  may  do  their, 
right  or  wrong  must  vary  also  ;  for  virtue  does  not  consist  in  the 
act  we  do,  but  in  the  end  it  is  to  effect.  If  it  is  to  effect  the  hap- 
piness of  liim  to  whom  it  is  directed,  it  is  virtuous,  while  in  a  so- 
ciety under  different  circumstances  and  opinions,  the  same  act 
might  produce  pain,  and  would  be  vicious.  The  essence  of  virtue 
is  in  doing  good  to  others,  while  what  is  good  may  be  one  thing 
in  one  society,  and  its  contrary  in  another.  Yet,  however  we 
may  differ  as  to  the  foundation  of  morals,  (and  as  many  founda- 
tions have  been  assumed  as  there  are  writers  on  the  subject  nearly,) 
so  correct  a  thinker  as  Tracy  will  give  us  a  sound  system  of  mo- 
rals. And,  indeed,  it  is  remarkable,  that  so  many  writers,  setting 
out  from  so  many  different  premises,  yet  meet  all  in  the  same 
conclusions.  This  looks  as  if  they  were  guided,  unconsciously, 
by  the  unerring  hand  of  instinct. 

Your  history  of  the  Jesuits,  by  what  name  of  the  author  or 
other  description  is  it  to  be  inquired  for  ? 

What  do  you  think  of  the  present  situation  of  England  ?  Is 
not  this  the  great  and  fatal  crush  of  their  funding  system,  which 
like  death,  has  been  foreseen  by  all,  but  its  hour,  like  that  of 
death,  hidden  from  mortal  prescience  ?  It  appears  to  me  that  all 
the  circumstances  now  exist  which  render  recovery  desperate. 
The  interest  of  the  national  debt  is  now  equal  to  such  a  portion 
of  the  profits  of  all  the  land  and  the  labor  of  the  island,  as  not 
to  leave  enough  for  the  subsistence  of  those  who  labor.  Hence 
the  owners  of  the  land  abandon  it  and  retire  to  other  countries, 
and  the  laborer  has  not  enough  of  his  earnings  left  to  him  to 
cover  his  back  and  to  fill  his  belly.  The  local  insurrections,  now 
almost  general,  are  of  the  hungry  and  the  naked,  who  cannot  be 
quieted  but  by  food  and  raiment.  But  where  are  the  means  of 
feeding  and  clothing  them  ?  The  landholder  has  nothing  of  his 
own  to  give  ;  he  is  but  the  fiduciary  of  those  who  have  lent  him 
money  ;  the  lender  is  so  taxed  in  his  meat,  drink  and  clothing, 
that  he  has  but  a  bare  subsistence  left.  The  landholder,  then, 
must  give  up  his  land,  or  the  lender  his  debt,  or  they  must  com- 


promise  by  giving  up  each  one-half.  But  will  either  consent, 
■peaceably,  to  such  an  abandonment  of  property  ?  Or  must  it  not 
be  settled  by  civil  conflict?  If  peaceably  compromised,  will 
they  agree  to  risk  another  ruin  under  the  same  government  un- 
reformed  ?  I  think  not ;  but  I  would  rather  know  what  you 
think  ;  because  you  have  lived  with  John  Bull,  and  know  better 
than  I  do  the  character  of  his  herd.  1  salute  Mrs.  Adams  and 
yourself  with  every  sentiment  of  aff"ectionate  cordiality  and  re- 


/  MuNTiCELio,  October  16,  1816. 

Dear  Sik, — If  it  be  proposed  to  place  an  inscription  on  the 
capitol,  the  lapidary  style  requires  that  essential  facts  only  should 
be  stated,  and  these  with  a  brevity  admitting  no  superfluous  word. 
The  essential  facts  in  the  two  inscriptions  proposed  are  these  : 


The  reasons  for  this  brevity  are  that  the  letters  must  be  of  extra- 
ordinary magnitude  to  be  read  from  below  ;  that  little  space  is 
allowed  them,  being  usually  put  into  a  pediment  or  in  a  frize,  or 
on  a  small  tablet  on  the  wall ;  and  in  our  case,  a  third  reason 
may  be  added,  that  no  passion  can  be  imputed  to  this  inscription, 
every  word  being  justifiable  from  the  most  classical  examples. 

But  a  question  of  more  importance  is  whether  there  should  be 
one  at  all  ?  The  barbarism  of  the  conflagration  will  immortalize 
that  of  the  nation.  It  will  place  them  forever  in  degraded  com- 
parison with  the  execrated  Bonaparte,  who,  in  possession  of 
almost  every  capitol  in  Europe,  injured  no  one.  Of  this,  history 
will  take  care,  which  all  will  read,  while  our  inscription  will  be 
seen  by  few.  Great  Britain,  in  her  pride  and  ascendency,  has 
certainly  hated  and  despised  us  beyond  every  earthly  object. 
Her  hatred  may  remain,  but  the  hour  of  her  contempt  is  passed 
and  is  succeeded  by  dread  ;  not  a  present,  but  a  distant  and  deep 


one.  It  is  the  greater  as  she  feels  herself  plunged  into  an  abyss 
of  ruin  from  which  no  human  means  point  out  an  issue.  We 
also  have  more  reason  to  hate  her  than  any  nation  on  earth.  Bui 
she  is  not  now  an  object  for  hatred.  She  is  falling  from  her 
transcendant  sphere,  which  all  men  ought  to  have  -rt^ished,  but  not 
that  she  should  lose  all  place  among  nations.  It  is  for  the  interest 
of  all  that  she  should  be  maintained,  nearly  on  a  par  with  other 
members  of  the  republic  of  nations.  Her  power,  absorbed  into 
that  of  any  other,  would  be  an  object  of  dread  to  all,  and  to  us 
more  than  all,  because  we  are  accessible  to  her  alone  and  through 
.her  alone.  The  armies  of  Bonaparte  with  the  fleets  of  Britain, 
would  change  the  aspect  of  our  destinies.  Under  these  prospects 
should  we  perpetuate  hatred  against  her  ?  Should  we  not,  on 
the  contrary,  begin  to  open  ourselves  to  other  and  more  rational 
dispositions  ?  It  is  not  improbable  that  the  circumstances  of  the 
war  and  her  own  circumstances  may  have  brought  her  wise  men 
to  begin  to  view  us  with  other  and  even  with  kindred  eyes. 
Should  not  our  wise  men,  then,  lifted  above  the  passions  of  the 
ordinary  citizen,  begin  to  contemplate  what  will  he  the  interests  of 
our  country  on  so  important  a  change  among  the  elements  which 
influence  it  ?  I  think  it  would  be  better  to  give  her  time  to  show 
her  present  temper,  and  to  prepare  the  minds  of  our  citizens  for 
a  corresponding  change  of  disposition,  by  acts  of  comity  towards 
England  rather  than  by  commemoration  of  hatred.  These 
views  might  be  greatly  extended.  Perhaps,  however,  they  are 
premature,  and  that  I  may  see  the  ruin  of  England  nearer  than 
it  really  is.  This  will  be  matter  of  consideration  with  those  to 
whose  councils  we  have  commited  ourselves,  and  whose  wisdom 
J  am  sure,  will  conclude  on  what  is  best.  Perhaps  they  may  let 
It  go  off  on  the  single  and  short  consideration  that  the  thing  can 
do  no  good,  and  may  do  harm.     Ever  and  affectionately  yours. 



Poplar  Foekst,  November  25,  1816. 

I  receive  here,  dear  Sir,  your  favor  of  the  4th,  just  as  I  am 
preparing  my  return  to  Monticello  for  winter  quarters,  and  I  hasten 
to  answer  to  some  of  your  inquiries.  The  Tracy  I  mentioned 
to  you  is  the  one  connected  by  marriage  with  Lafayette's  family. 
The  mail  which  brought  your  letter,  brought  one  also  from  him. 
He  writes  me  that  he  is  become  blind,  and  so  infirm  that  he  is 
no  longer  able  to  compose  anything.  So  that  we  are  to  consider 
his  works  as  now  closed.  They  are  three  volumes  of  Ideology, 
one  on  Political  Economy,  one  on  Ethics,  and  one  containing 
his  Commentary  on  Montesquieu,  and  a  little  tract  on  Education. 
Although  his  commentary  explains  his  principles  of  government, 
he  had  intended  to  have  substituted  for  it  an  elementary  and  reg- 
ular treatise  on  the  subject,  but  he  is  prevented  by  his  infirmities. 
His  Analyse  de  Dupuys  he  does  not  avow. 

My  books  are  all  arrived,  some  at  New  York,  some  at  Boston, 
and  I  am  glad  to  hear  that  those  for  Harvard  are  safe  also,  and 
the  Uranologia  you  mention  without  telling  me  what  it  is.  It  is 
something  good,  I  am  sure,  from  the  name  connected  with  it ; 
and  if  you  would  add  to  it  your  fable  of  the  bees,  we  should  re- 
ceive valuable  instruction  as  to  the  Uranologia  both  of  the  father 
and  son,  more  valuable  than  the  Chinese  will  from  our  bible  so- 
cieties. These  incendiaries,  finding  that  the  days  of  fire  and 
fagot  are  over  in  the  Atlantic  hemisphere,  are  now  preparing  to 
put  the  torch  to  the  Asiatic  regions.  What  would  they  say  were 
the  Pope  to  send  annually  to  this  country,  colonies  of  Jesuit 
priests  with  cargoes  of  their  missal  and  translations  of  their  Vul- 
gate, to  be  put  gratis  into  the  hands  of  every  one  who  would  ac- 
cept them  ?  and  to  act  thus  nationally  on  us  as  a  nation  ? 

I  proceed  to  the  letter  you  were  so  good  as  to  enclose  me.  It 
is  an  able  letter,  speaks  volumes  in  few  words,  presents  a  pro- 
found view  of  awful  truths,  and  lets  us  see  truths  more  awful, 
which  are  still  to  follow.  George  the  Third  then,  and  his 
minister  Pitt,  and  successors,  have  spent  the  fee  simple  of  the 


kingdom,  under  pretence  of  governing  it ;  their ' sinecures,  sala- 
ries, pensions,  priests,  prelates,  princes  and  eternal  wars,  have 
mortgaged  to  its  full  value  the  last  foot  of  their  soil.  They  are 
reduced  to  the  dilemma  of  a  bankrupt  spendthrift,  who,  having 
run  through  his  whole  fortune,  now  asks  himself  what  he  is  to 
do  ?  It  is  in  vain  he  dismisses  his  coaches  and  horses,  his 
grooms,  liveries,  cooks  and  butlers.  This  done,  he  still  finds  he 
has  nothing  to  eat.  What  was  his  property  is  now  that  of  his 
creditors ;  if  still  in  his  hands,  it  is  only  as  their  trustee.  To 
them  it  belongs,  and  to  them  every  farthing  of  its  profits  must  go. 
The  reformation  of  extravagances  comes  too  late.  All  is  gone. 
Nothing  left  for  retrenchment  or  frugality  to  go  on.  The  debts 
of  England,  however,  being  due  from  the  whole  nation  to  one 
half  of  it,  being  as  much  the  debt  of  the  creditor  as  debtor,  if  it 
could  be  referred  to  a  court  of  equity,  principles  might  be  devised 
to  adjust  it  peaceably.  Dismiss  their  parasites,  ship  off  their  pau- 
pers to  this  country,  let  the  landholders  give  half  their  lands  to 
the  money  lenders,  and  these  last  relinquish  one  half  of  their 
debts.  They  would  still  have  a  fertile  island,  a  sound  and.  ef- 
fective population  to  labor  it,  and  would  hold  that  station  among 
political  powers,  to  which  their  natural  resources  and  faculties 
entitle  them.  They  would  no  longer,  indeed,  be  the  lords  of  the 
ocean  and  paymasters  of  all  the  princes  of  the  earth.  They 
would  no  longer  enjoy  the  luxuries  of  pirating  and  plundering 
everything  by  sea,  and  of  bribing  and  corrupting  everything  by 
land  ;  but  they  might  enjoy  the  more  safe  and  lasting  luxury  of 
living  on  terms  of  equality,  justice  and  good  neighborhood  with 
all  nations.  As  it  is,  their  first  efforts  will  probably  be  to  quiet 
things  a'while  by  the  palliatives  of  reformation  ;  to  nibble  a  little 
at  pensions  and  sinecures,  to  bite  off  a  bit  here,  and  a  bite  there 
to  amuse  the  people  ;  and  to  keep  the  government  a  going  by 
encroachments  on  the  interest  of  the  public  debt,  one  per  cent, 
of  which,  for  instance,  withheld,  gives  them  a  spare  revenue  of  ten 
millions  for  present  subsistence,  and  spunges,  in  fact,  two  hundred 
millions  of  the  debt.  This  remedy  they  may  endeavor  to  ad- 
minister in  broken  doses  of  a  small  pill  at  a  time.     The  first 


may  not  occasion  more  than  a  strong  nausea  in  the  money  lend- 
ers ;  but  the  second  will  probably  produce  a  revulsion  of  the 
stomach,  borborisms,  and  spasmodic  calls  for  fair  settlement  and 
compromise.  But  it  is  not  in  the  character  of  man  to  come 
to  any  peaceable  compromise  of  such  a  state  of  things.  The 
princes  and  priests  will  hold  to  the  flesh-pots,  the  empty  bellies  will 
seize  on  them,  and  these  being  the  multitude,  the  issue  is  ob- 
vious, civil  war,  massacre,  exile  as  in  Prance,  until  the  stage  is 
cleaned  of  everything  but  the  multitude,  and  the  lands  get 
into  their  hands  by  such  processes  as  the  revolution  will  en- 
gender. They  will  then  want  peace  and  a  government,  and 
what  will  it  be  ?  certainly  not  a  renewal  of  that  which  has  al- 
ready ruined  them.  Their  habits  of  law  and  order,  their  ideas 
almost  innate  of  the  vital  elements  of  free  government,  of  trial 
by  jury,  habeas  corpus,  freedom  of  the  press,  freedom  of  opin- 
ion, and  representative  government,  make  them,  I  think,  capa- 
ble of  bearing  a  considerable  portion  of  liberty.  They  will 
probably  turn  their  eyes  to  us,  and  be  disposed  to  tread  in  our 
footsteps,  seeing  how  safely  these  have  led  us  into  port.  There 
is  no  part  of  our  model  to  which  they  seem  unequal,  unless  per- 
haps the  elective  presidency ;  and  even  that  might  possibly  be 
rescued  from  the  tumult  of  elections,  by  subdividing  the  electoral 
assemblages  into  very  small  parts,  such  as  of  wards  or  town- 
ships, and  making  them  simultaneous.  But  you  know  them  so 
much  better  than  I  do,  that  it  is  presumption  to  offer  my  conjec- 
tures to  you. 

While  it  is  much  our  interest  to  see  this  power  reduced  from 
its  towering  and  borrowed  height,  to  within  the  limits  of  its 
natural  resources,  it  is  by  no  means  our  interest  that  she  should 
be  brought  below  that,  or  lose  her  competent  place  among  the 
nations  of  Europe.  The  present  exhausted  state  of  the  conti- 
nent will,  I  hope,  permit  them  to  go  through  their  struggle  with- 
out foreign  interference,  and  to  settle  their  new  government  ac- 
cording to  their  own  will.  I  think  it  will  be  friendly  to  us,  as 
the  nation  itself  would  be  were  it  not  artfully  wrought  up  by 
the  hatred  their  government  bears  us.     And  were  they  once  un- 


der  a  government  which  should  treat  us  with  justice  and  equity. 
I  should  myself  feel  with  great  strength  the  ties  which  bind  us 
together,  of  origin,  language,  laws  and  manners  ;  and  I  am  per- 
suaded the  two  people  would  become  in  future,  as  it  was  with 
the  ancient  Greeks,  among  whom  it  was  reproachful  for  Greek 
to  be  found  fighting  against  Greek  in  a  foreign  army.  The  in 
dividvals  of  the  nation  I  have  ever  honored  and  esteemed,  the 
basis  of  their  character  being  essentially  worthy ;  but  I  consider 
their  government  as  the  most  flagitious  which  has  existed  since 
the  days  of  Philip  of  Macedon,  whom  they  make  their  model. 
It  is  not  only  founded  in  corruption  itself,  but  insinuates  the 
same  poison  into  the  bowels  of  every  other,  corrupts  its  councils, 
nourishes  factions,  stirs  up  revolutions,  and  places  its  own  happi- 
ness in  fomenting  commotions  and  civil  wars  among  others,  thus 
rendering  itself  truly  the  hostis  humani  generis.  The  effect  is 
now  coming  home  to  itself.  Its  first  operation  will  fall  on  the 
individuals  who  have  been  the  chief  instruments  in  its  corrup- 
tions, and  will  eradicate  the  families  which  have  from  generation 
to  generation  been  fattening  on  the  blood  of  their  brethren  ;  and 
this  scoria  once  thrown  off,  I  am  in  hopes  a  purer  nation  will  re- 
sult, and  a  purer  government  be  instituted,  one  which,  instead  of 
endeavoring  to  make  us  their  natural  enemies,  will  see  in  us, 
what  we  really  are,  their  natural  friends  and  brethren,  and  more 
interested  in  a  fraternal  connection  with  them  than  with  any  oth- 
er nation  on  earth.  I  look,  therefore,  to  their  revolution  with 
great  interest.  I  wish  it  to  be  as  moderate  and  bloodless  as  will 
effect  the  desired  object  of  an  honest  government,  one  which 
will  permit  the  world  to  live  in  peace,  and  under  the  bonds  of 
friendship  and  good  neighborhood. 

In  this  tremendous  tempest,  the  distinctions  of  whig  and  tory 
will  disappear  like  chaff  on  a  troubled  ocean.  Indeed,  they  have 
been  disappearing  from  the  day  Hume  first  began  to  publish  his 
history.  This  single  book  has  done  more  to  sap  the  free  princi- 
ples of  the  English  constitution  than  the  largest  standing  army 
of  which  their  patriots  have  been  so  jealous.  It  is  like  the  por- 
traits of  our  countryman  Wright,  whose  eye  was  so  unhappy  as 


to  seize  all  the  ugly  features  of  his  subject,  and  to  present  them 
faithfully,  while  it  "was  entirely  insensible  to  every  lineament  of 
beauty.  So  Hume  has  concentrated,  in  his  fascinating  style,  all 
the  arbitrary  proceedings  of  the  English  kings,  as  true  evidences 
of  the  constitution,  and  glided  over  its  whig  principles  as  the 
unfounded  pretensions  of  factious  demagogues.  He  even  boasts, 
in  his  life  written  by  himself,  that  of  the  numerous  alterations 
suggested  by  the  readers  of  his  work,  he  had  never  adopted  one 
proposed  by  a  whig. 

But  what,  in  this  same  tempest,  will  become  of  their  colonies 
and  their  fleets  ?  Will  the  former  assume  independence,  and  the 
latter  resort  to  piracy  for  subsistence,  taking  possession  of  some 
island  as  a  point  d'appui  ?  A  pursuit  of  these  would  add  too 
much  to  the  speculations  on  the  situation  and  prospects  of  Eng- 
land, into  which  I  have  been  led  by  the  pithy  text  of  the  letter 
you  so  kindly  sent  me,  and  which  I  now  return.  It  is  worthy 
the  pen  of  Tacitus.  I  add,  therefore,  only  my  afiectionate  and 
respectful  souvenirs  to  Mrs.  Adams  and  yourself. 


Quixoy,  December  16,  1816. 

Your  letter,  dear  Sir,  of  November  25th,  from  Poplar  Forest, 
was  sent  to  me  from  the  post-ofiice  the  next  day  after  I  had  sent 
"  The  Analysis,"  with  my  thanks  to  you. 

"  Three  vols,  of  Idiology  !"  Pray  explain  to  me  this  Neologi- 
cal  title  !  "What  does  it  mean  ?  When  Bonaparte  used  it,  I  was 
delighted  with  it,  upon  the  common  principle  of  delight  in  every- 
thing we  cannot  understand.  Does  it  mean  Idiotism  ?  The 
science  of  non  compos  mentuism  ?  The  science  of  Lunacy  ?  The 
theory  of  delirium  ?  or  does  it  mean  the  science  of  self-love  ?  Of 
amour  propre  ?  or  the  elements  of  vanity  ? 

Were  I  in  France  at  this  time,  I  could  profess  blindness  and 
infirmity,  and  prove  it  too.  I  suppose  he  does  not  avow  the  an- 
alysis, as  Hume  did  not  avow  his  essay  on  human  nature.    That 


analysis,  however,  does  not  show  a  man  of  excessive  mediocrity. 
Had  I  known  any  of  these  things  two  years  ago,  I  would  have 
written  him  a  letter.  Of  all  things,  I  wish  to  see  his  Idiology 
upon  Montesquieu.  If  you,  with  all  your  iniluence,  have  not 
been  able  to  get  your  own  translation  of  it,  with  your  own  notes 
upon  it,  jTublished  in  four  years,  where  and  what  is  the  freedom 
of  the  American  press?  Mr.  Taylor  of  Hazelwood,  Port  Royal, 
can  have  his  voluminous  and  luminous  works  published  with 
ease  and  despatch. 

The  Uranologia,  as  I  am  told,  is  a  collection  of  plates,  stamps, 
charts  of  the  Heavens  upon  a  large  scale,  representing  all  the 
constellations.  The  work  of  some  Professor  in  Sweden.  It  is 
said  to  be  the  most  perfect  that  ever  has  appeared.  I  have  not 
seen  it.  Why  should  I  ride  fifteen  miles  to  see  it,  when  I  can 
see  the  original  every  clear  evening ;  and  especially  as  Dupuis 
has  almost  made  me  afraid  to  inquire  after  anything  more  of  it 
than  I  can  see  with  my  naked  eye  in  a  star-light  night  ? 

That  the  Pope  will  send  Jesuits  to  this  country,  I  doubt  not ; 
and  the  church  of  England,  missionaries  too.  And  the  Metho- 
dists, and  the  Quakers,  and  the  Moravians,  and  the  Swedenburg- 
ers,  and  the  Menonists,  and  the  Scottish  Kirkers,  and  the  Jacobites, 
and  the  Jacobins,  and  the  Democrats,  and  the  Aristocrats,  and  the 
Monarchists,  and  the  Despotists  of  all  denominations :  and  every 
emissary  of  every  one  of  these  sects  will  find  a  part}  here  already 
formed,  to  give  him  a  cordial  reception.  No  power  or  intelligence 
less  than  Raphael's  moderator,  can  reduce  this  chaos  to  order. 

I  am  charmed  with  the  fluency  and  rapidity  of  your  reasoning 
on  the  state  of  Great  Britain.  I  can  deny  none  of  your  premises ; 
but  I  doubt  your  conclusion.  After  all  the  convvJsions  that  you 
foresee,  they  will  return  to  that  constitution  which  you  say  has 
ruined  them,  and  I  say  has  been  the  source  of  all  their  power  and 
importance.  They  have,  as  you  say,  too  much  sense  and  knowl- 
edge of  liberty,  ever  to  submit  to  simple  monarchy,  or  absolute 
despotism,  on  the  one  hand ;  and  too  much  of  the  devil  in  them 
ever  to  be  governed  by  popular  elections  of  Presidents,  Senators, 
and  Representatives  in  Congress.    Instead  of  "  turning  their  eyes 


to  ns,"  their  innate  feelings  will  turn  them  from  us.  They  have 
been  taught  from  their  cradles  to  despise,  scorn,  insult,  and  abuse 
us.  They  hate  us  more  vigor(5usly  than  they  do  the  French. 
They  would  sooner  adopt  the  simple  monarchy  of  France,  than 
our  republican  institutions.  You  compliment  me  with  more 
knowledge  of  them  than  I  can  assume  or  pretend.  If  I  should 
write  you  a  volume  of  observations  I  made  in  England,  you 
would  pronounce  it  a  satire.  Suppose  the  "  Refrain,"  as,  the 
French  call  it,  or  the  Burthen  of  the  Song,  as  the  English  express 
it,  should  be,  the  Religion,  the  Government,  the  Commerce,  the 
Manufactures,  the  Army  and  Navy  of  Great  Britain,  are  all  re- 
duced to  the  science  of  pounds,  shillings  and  pence.  Elections 
appeared  to  me  a  mere  commercial  traffic ;  mere  bargain  and  sale. 
I  have  been  told  by  sober,  steady  freeholders,  that  "  they  never 
had  been,  and  never  would  go  to  the  poll,  without  being  paid 
for  their  time,  travel  and  expenses."  •  Now,  suppose  an  election 
for  a  President  of  the  British  empire.  There  must  be  a  nomina- 
tion of  candidates  by  a  national  convention,  Congress,  or  caucus 
— ^in  which  would  be  two  parties — Whigs  and  Tories.  Of  course 
two  candidates  at  least  would  be  nominated.  The  empire  is  in- 
stantly divided  into  two  parties  at  least.  Every  man  must  be 
paid  for  his  vote  by  the  candidate  of  his  party.  The  only  ques- 
tion would  be,  which  party  has  the  deepest  purse.  The  same 
reasoning  will  apply  to  elections  of  Senators  and  Representatives 
too.  A  revolution  might  destroy  the  Burroughs  and  the  Inequali- 
ties of  representation,  and  might  produce  more  toleration;  and 
these  acquisitions  might  be  worth  all  they  would  cost ;  but  I  dread 
the  experiment. 

Britain  will  never  be  our  friend  till  we  are  her  master. 

This  will  happen  in  less  time  than  you  and  I  have  been  strug- 
gling with  her  power ;  provided  we  remain  united.  Aye  !  there's 
the  rub  !  I  fear  there  will  be  greater  difficulties  to  preserve  our 
Union,  than  you  and  I,  our  fathers,  brothers,  friends,  disciples 
and  sons  have  had,  to  form  it.  Towards  Great  Britain,  I  would 
adopt  their  own  maxim.  An  EngHsh  jockey  says,  "  If  I  have  a 
wild  horse  to  break,  I  begin  by  convincing  him  I  am  his  master ; 

VOL.  VII.  4 


and  then  I  will  convince  him  that  I  am  his  friend."  I  am  weL 
assured  that  nothing  will  restrain  Great  Britam  from  injuring  us, 
but  fear. 

You  think  that  "  in  a  revolution  the  distinction  of  Whig  and 
Tory  would  disappear."  I  cannot  believe  this.  That  distinc- 
tion arises  from  nature  and  society ;  is  now,  and  ever  will  be, 
time  without  end,  among  Negroes,  Indians,  and  Tartars,  as  well 
as  federalists  and  republicans.  Instead  of  "disappearing  since 
Hume  published  his  history,"  that  history  has  only  increased  the 
Tories  and  diminished  the  Whigs.  That  history  has  been  the 
bane  of  Great  Britain.  It  has  destroyed  many  of  the  best  effects 
of  the  revolution  of  1688.  Style  has  governed  the  empire. 
Swift,  Pope  and  Hume,  have  disgraced  all  the  honest  historians. 
Rapin  and  Burnet,  Oldmixen  and  Coke,  contain  more  honest 
truth  than  Hume  and  Clarendon,  and  all  their  disciples  and  imi- 
tators. But  who  reads  any  of  them  at  this  day  ?  Every  one  of 
the  fine  arts  from  the  earliest  times  has  been  enlisted  in  the  ser- 
vice of  superstition  and  despotism.  The  whole  world  at  this  day 
gazes  with  astonishment  at  the  grossest  fictions,  because  they 
have  been  immortalized  by  the  most  exquisite  artists — Homer 
and  Milton,  Phideas  and  Raphael.  The  rabble  of  the  classic 
skies,  and  the  hosts  of  Roman  Catholic  saints  and  angels,  are 
still  adored  in  paint,  and  marble,  and  verse.  Raphael  has  sketched 
the  actors  and  scenes  in  all  Apuleus's  Amours  of  Psyche  and 
Cupid.  Nothing  is  too  offensive  to  morals,  delicacy,  or  decency, 
for  this  painter.  Raphael  has  painted  in  one  of  the  most  osten- 
tatious churches  in  Italy — the  Creation — and  with  what  genius  ? 
God  Almighty  is  represented  as  leaping  into  chaos,  and  boxing 
it  about  with  his  fists,  and  kicking  it  about  with  his  feet,  till  he 
tumbles  it  into  order  ! 

Nothing  is  too  impious  or  profane  for  this  great  master,  who 
has  painted  so  many  inimitable  virgins  and  children. 

To  help  me  on  in  my  career  of  improvement,  I  have  now  read 
four  volumes  of  La  Harpe's  correspondence  with  Paul  and  a  Rus- 
sian minister.  Philosophers!  Never  again  think  of  annuling 
superstition  per  Saltum,     Testine  cente. 



MoNTioELLo,  Peoembei'  31,  181fi. 
Sir, — Your  favor  of  November  23d,  after  a  very  long  passage, 
is  received,  and  with  it  the  map  which  you  have  been  so  kind 
as  to  send  me,  for  which  I  return  you  many  thanks.  It  is  hand- 
somely executed,  and  on  a  well-chosen  scale  ;  giving  a  luminous 
view  of  the  comparative  possessions  of  different  powers  in  our 
America.  It  is  on  account  of  the  value  I  set  on  it,  that  I  will 
make  some  suggestions.  By  the  charter  of  Louis  XIV.  all  the 
country  comprehending  the  waters  which  flow  into  the  Missis- 
sippi, was  made  a  part  of  Louisiana.  Consequently  its  northern 
boundary  was  the  summit  of  the  highlands  in  which  its  north- 
ern waters  rise.  But  by  the  Xth  Art.  of  the  Treaty  of  Utrecht, 
France  and  England  agreed  to  appoint  commissioners  to  settle  the 
boundary  between  their  possessions  in  that  quarter,  and  those 
commissioners  settled  it  at  the  49th  degree  of  latitude.  See 
Hutchinson's  Topographical  Description  of  Louisiana,  p.  7.  This 
it  was  which  induced  the  British  Commissioners,  in  settling  the 
boundary  with  us,  to  follow  the  northern  water  line  to  the  Lake 
of  the  Woods,  at  the  latitude  of  49°,  and  then  go  off  on  that 
parallel.  This,  then,  is  the  true  northern  boundary  of  Louisiana. 
The  western  boundary  of  Louisiana  is,  rightfully,  the  Rio 
Bravo,  (its  main  stream,)  from  its  mouth  to  its  scarce,  and  thence 
along  the  highlands  and  mountains  dividing  the  waters  of  the 
Mississippi  from  those  of  the  Pacific.  The  usurpations  of  Spain 
on  the  east  side  of  that  river,  have  induced  geographers  to  sup- 
pose the  Puerco  or  Salado  to  be  the  boundary.  The  line  along 
the  highlands  stands  on  the  charter  of  Louis  XIV.  that  of  the 
Rio  Bravo,  on  the  circumstance  that,  when  La  Salle  took  pos- 
session of  the  Bay  of  St.  Bernard,  Panuco  was  the  nearest  pos- 
session of  Spain,  and  the  Rio  Bravo  the  natural  half-way  boun- 
dary between  them. 

On  the  waters  of  the  Pacific,  we  can  found  no  claim  in  right 
of  Louisiana.  If  we  claim  that  country  at  all,  it  must  be  on 
Astor's  settlement  near  the  mouth  of  the  Columbia,  and  the  prin- 


ciple  of  the  jus  gentium  of  America,  that  when  a  civilized  na- 
tion takes  possession  of  the  mouth  of  a  river  in  a  new  country, 
that  possession  is  considered  as  inckiding  all  its  waters. 

The  line  of  latitude  of  the  southern  source  of  the  multnomat 
might  be  claimed  as  appurtenant  to  Astoria.  For  its  northern 
boundary,  I  believe  an  understanding  has  been  come  to  between 
our  government  and  Russia,  which  might  be  known  from  some 
of  its  members.     I  do  not  know  it. 

Although  the  irksomeness  of  writing,  which  you  may  perceive 
from  the  present  letter,  and  its  labor,  oblige  me  now  to  withdraw 
from  letter  writing,  yet  the  wish  that  your  map  should  set  to 
rights  the  ideas  of  our  own  countrymen,  as  well  as  foreign  n^i- 
tions,  as  to  our  correct  boundaries,  has  induced  me  to  make  these 
suggestions,  that  you  may  bestow  on  them  whatever  inquiry 
they  may  merit.     I  salute  you  with  esteem  and  respect. 

TO    MRS.    ADAMS. 

MoNTioELLO,  January  11,  1817. 

I  owe  you,  dear  Madam,  a  thousand  thanks  for  the  letters  com- 
municated in  your  favor  of  December  15th,  and  now  returned. 
They  give  me  more  information  than  I  possessed  before,  of  the 
family  of  Mr.  Tracy.  But  what  is  infinitely  interesting,  is  the 
scene  of  the  exchange  of  Louis  XVIII.  for  Bonaparte.  What 
lessons  of  wisdom  Mr.  Adams  must  have  read  in  that  short  space 
of  time  !  More  than  fall  to  the  lot  of  others  in  the  course  of  a 
long  life.  Man,  and  the  man  of  Paris,  under  those  circumstances, 
must  have  been  a  subject  of  profound  speculation !  It  would 
be  a  singular  addition  to  that  spectacle,  to  see  the  same  beast  in 
the  cage  of  St.  Helena,  like  a  lion  in  the  tower.  That  is  prob- 
ably the  closing  verse  of  the  chapter  of  his  crimes.  But  not  so 
with  Louis.     He  has  other  vicissitudes  to  go  through. 

I  communicated  the  letters,  according  to  your  permission,  to 
my  grand-daughter,  Ellen  Randolph,  who  read  them  with  pleas- 
ure and  edification.     She  is  justly  sensible  of,  and  flattered  by 


your  kind  notice  of  her  ;  and  additionally  so,  by  the  favorable 
recollections  of  our  northern  yisiting  friends.  If  Monticello  has 
anything  which  has  merited  their  remembrance,  it  gives  it  a 
value  the  more  in  our  estimation ;  and  could  I,  in  the  spirit  of 
your  wish,  count  backwards  a  score  of  years,  it  would  not  be 
long  before  Ellen  and  myself  would  pay  our  homage  personally 
to  Q,uincy.  But  those  twenty  years !  Alas  !  where  are  they  ? 
With  those  beyond  the  flood.  Our  next  meeting  must  then  be 
in  the  country  to  which  they  have  flown, — a  country  for  us  not 
now  very  distant.  For  this  journey  we  shall  need  neither  gold  nor 
silver  in  our  purse,  nor  scrip,  nor  coats,  nor  staves.  Nor  is  the 
provision  for  it  more  easy  than  the  preparation  has  been  kind. 
Nothing  proves  more  than  this,  that  the  Being  who  presides  over 
the  world  is  essentially  benevolent.  Stealing  from  us,  one  by 
one,  the  faculties  of  enjoyment,  searing  our  sensibilities,  leading 
us,  like  the  horse  in  his  mill,  round  and  round  the  same  beaten 

To  see  what  we  have  seen, 

To  taste  the  tasted,  and  at  each  return 

Less  tasteful ;  o'er  our  palates  to  decant 

Another  vintage — 

Untn  satiated  and  fatigued  with  this  leaden  iteration,  we  ask  our 
own  conge.  I  heard  once  a  very  old  friend,  who  had  troubled 
himself  with  neither  poets  nor  philosophers,  say  the  same  thing 
in  plain  prose,  that  he  was  tired  of  pulling  off  his  shoes  and 
stockings  at  night,  and  putting  them  on  again  in  the  morning. 
The  wish  to  stay  here  is  thus  gradually  extinguished  ;  but  not 
so  easily  that  of  returning  once,  in  awhile,  to  see  how  things 
have  gone  on.  Perhaps,  however,  one  of  the  elements  of  future 
felicity  is  to  be  a  constant  and  unimpassioned  view  of  what  is 
passing  here.  If  so,  this  may  well  supply  the  wish  of  occasional 
visits.  Mercier  has  given  us  a  vision  of  the  year  2440  ;  but 
prophecy  is  one  thing,  and  history  another.  On  the  whole,  how- 
ever, perhaps  it  is  wise  and  well  to  be  contented  with  the  good 
things  which  the  master  of  the  feast  places  before  us,  and  to  be 
thankful  for  what  we  have,  rather  than  thoughtful  about  what 


we  have  not.  You  and  I,  dear  Madam,  have  aheady  had  more 
than  an  ordinary  portion  of  life,  and  more,  too,  of  health  than  the 
general  measure.  On  this  score  I  owe  boundless  thankfulness. 
Your  health  was,  some  time  ago,  not  so  good  as  it  has  been ;  and 
I  perceive  in  the  letters  communicated,  some  complaints  still.  I 
hops  it  is  restored ;  and  that  life  and  health  may  be  continued  to 
you  as  many  years  as  yourself  shall  wish,  is  the  sincere  prayer 
of  your  affectionate  and  respectful  friend. 


MoNTicELLO,  January  11,  ISlT. 
Deab  Sik, — Forty-three  volumes  read  in  one  year,  and  twelve 
of  them  quarto  !  Dear  Sir,  how  I  envy  you  !  Half  a  dozen 
octavos  in  that  space  of  time,  are  as  much  as  I  am  allowed.  I 
can  read  by  candlelight  only,  and  stealing  long  hours  from  my 
rest ;  nor  would  that  time  be  indulged  to  me,  could  I  by  that 
light  see  to  write.  Prom  sunrise  to  one  or  two  o'clock,  and 
often  from  dinner  to  dark,  I  am  drudging  at  the  writing  table. 
And  all  this  to  answer  letters  into  which  neither  interest  nor  in- 
clination on  my  part  enters ;  and  often  from  persons  whose  names 
I  have  never  before  heard.  Yet,  writing  civilly,  it  is  hard  to  re- 
fuse them  civil  answers.  This  is  the  burthen  of  my  life,  a  very 
grievous  one  indeed,  and  one  which  I  must  get  rid  of.  Dela- 
plaine  lately  requested  me  to  give  him  a  line  on  the  subject  of 
his  book  ;  meaning,  as  I  well  knew,  to  publish  it.  This  I  con- 
stantly refuse  ;  but  in  this  instance  yielded,  that  in  saying  a  word 
for  him,  I  might  say  two  for  myself.  I  expressed  in  it  freely  my 
suflFerings  from  this  source ;  hoping  it  would  have  the  effect  of 
an  indirect  appeal  to  the  discretion  of  those,  strangers  and  others, 
who,  in  the  most  friendly  dispositions,  oppress  me  with  their 
concerns,  their  pursuits,  their  projects,  inventions  and  specula- 
tions, political,  moral,  religious,  mechanical,  mathematical,  his- 
torical, &c.,  &c.,  &c.  I  hope  the  appeal  will  bring  me  relief, 
and  that  I  shall  be  left  to  exercise  and  enjoy  correspondence  with 


the  friends  I  love,  and  on  subjects  which  they,  or  my  own  in- 
clinations present.  In  that  case,  your  letters  shall  not  be  so  long 
on  my  files  unanswered,  as  sometimes  they  have  been,  to  my 
great  mortification. 

To  advert  now  to  the  subjects  of  those  of  December  the  12th 
and  16th.  Tracy's  Commentaries  on  Montesquieu  have  never 
been  published  in  the  original.  Duane  printed  a  translation  from 
th«  original  manuscript  a  few  years  ago.  It  sold,  I  believe, 
readily,  and  whether  a  copy  can  now  be  had,  I  doubt.  If  it  can, 
you  will  receive  it  from  my  bookseller  in  Philadelphia,  to  whom 
I  now  write  for  that  purpose.  Tracy  comprehends,  under  the 
word  "  Ideology,"  all  the  subjects  which  the  French  term  Morale, 
as  the  correlative  to  Physique.  His  works  on  Logic,  Govern- 
ment, Political  Economy  and  Morality,  he  considers  as  making 
up  the  circle  of  ideological  subjects,  or  of  those  which  are  within 
the  scope  of  the  understanding,  and  not  of  the  senses.  His 
Logic  occupies  exactly  the  ground  of  Locke's  work  on  the  Un- 
derstanding. The  translation  of  that  on  Political  Economy  is 
now  printing  ;  but  it  is  no  translation  of  mine.  I  have  only  had 
the  correction  of  it,  which  was,  indeed,  very  laborious.  Le  pre- 
mier jet  having  been  by  some  one  who  understood  neither 
French  or  English,  it  was  impossible  to  make  it  more  than  faith- 
ful.    But  it  is  a  valuable  work. 

The  result  of  your  fifty  or  sixty  years  of  religious  reading,  in 
the  four  words,  "  Be  just  and  good,"  is  that  in  which  all  our  in- 
quiries must  end  ;  as  the  riddles  of  all  the  priesthoods  end  in  four 
more,  "ttfii  panis,  ibi  deus."  What  all  agree  in,  is  probably 
right.  What  no  two  agree  in,  most  probably  wrong.  One  of 
our  fan-coloring  biographers,  who  paints  small  men  as  very  great, 
inquired  of  me  lately,  with  real  affection  too,  whether  he  might 
consider  as  authentic,  the  change  in  my  religion  much  spoken 
of  in  some  circles.  Now  this  supposed  that  they  knew  what 
had  been  my  religion  before,  taking  for  it  the  word  of  their 
priests,  whom  I  certainly  never  made  the  confidants  of  my  creed. 
My  answer  was,  "  say  nothing  of  my  religion.  It  is  known  to 
my  God  and  myself  alone.     Its  evidence  before  the  world  is  to 


be  sought  in  my  life  ;  if  that  has  been  honest  and  dutiful  to  so- 
ciety, the  rehgion  which  has  regulated  it  cannot  be  a  bad  one." 
Affectionately  adien. 


MoNTiOELLo,  January  16.  1817. 

Deak  Sir, — I  received,  three  days  ago,  a  letter  from  M.  Martin, 
2d  Vice  President,  and  M.  Parmantier,  Secretary  of  "  the  French 
Agricultural  and  Manufacturing  Society,"  dated  at  Philadelphia  the 
5th  instant.  It  covered  resolutions  proposing  to  apply  to  Con- 
gress for  a  grant  of  two  hundred  and  fifty  thousand  acres  of 
land  on  the  Tombigbee,  and  stating  some  of  the  general  princi- 
ples on  which  the  society  was  to  be  founded  ;  and  their  letter 
requested  me  to  tr^ce  for  them  the  basis  of  a  social  pact  for  the 
local  regulations  of  their  society,  and  to  address  the  answer  to 
yourself,  their  1st  Vice  President  at  Washington.  No  one  can 
be  more  sensible  than  I  am  of  the  honor  of  their  confidence  in 
me,  so  flatteringly  manifested  in  this  resolution ;  and  certainly 
no  one  can  feel  stronger  dispositions  than  myself  to  be  useful  to 
them,  as  well  in  return  for  this  great  mark  of  their  respect,  as 
from  feelings  for  the  situation  of  strangers,  forced  by  the  misfor- 
tunes of  their  native  country  to  seek  another  by  adoption,  so 
distant  and  so  different  from  that  in  all  its  circumstances.  I 
commiserate  the  hardships  they  have  to  encounter,  and  equally 
applaud  the  resolution  with  which  they  meet  them,  as  well  as 
the  principles  proposed  for  their  government.  That  their  emi- 
gration may  be  for  the  happiness  of  their  descendants,  I  can  be- 
lieve ;  but  from  the  knowledge  I  have  of  the  country  they  have 
left,  and  its  state  of  social  intercourse  and  comfort,  their  own 
personal  happiness  will  undergo  severe  trial  here.  The  laws, 
however,  which  must  effect  this  must  flow  from  their  own  habits, 
their  own  feelings,  and  the  resources  of  their  own  minds.  No 
stranger  to  these  could  possibly  propose  regulations  adapted  to 
them.  Every  people  have  their  own  particular  habits,  ways  of 
ihinking,  manners,  &c.,  which  have  grown  up  with  them  from 


their  infancy  are  become  a  part  ot  their  nature,  and  to  which  the 
regulations  which  are  to  make  them  happy  must  be  accommodated. 
No  member  of  a  foreign  country  can  have  a  sufficient  sympathy 
with  these.  The  institutions  of  Lycui-gus,  for  example,  would 
not  have  suited  Athens,  nor  those  of  Solon,  Lacedsemon.  The 
organizations  of  Locke  were  impracticable  for  Carolina,  and  those 
of  Rousseau  and  Mably  for  Poland.  Turning  inwardly  on  my- 
self from  these  eminent  illustrations  of  the  truth  of  my  observa- 
tion, I  feel  all  the  presumption  it  would  manifest,  should  I  under- 
take to  do  what  this  respectable  society  is  alone  qualified  to  do 
suitably  for  itself.  There  are  some  preliminary  questions,  too, 
which  are  particularly  for  their  own  consideration.  Is  it  pro- 
posed that  this  shall  be  a  separate  State  ?  or  a  county  of  a  State  ? 
or  a  mere  voluntary  association,  as  those  of  the  Q,uakers,  Dun- 
kars,  Menonists  ?  A  separate  State  it  cannot  be,  because  from 
the  tract  it  asks  it  would  not  be  more  than  twenty  miles  square  ; 
and  in  establishing  new  States,  regard  is  had  to  a  certain  degree 
of  equality  in  size.  If  it  is  to  be  a  county  of  a  State,  it  cannot 
be  governed  by  its  own  laws,  but  must  be  subject  to  those  of  the 
State  of  which  it  is  a  part.  If  merely  a  voluntary  association, 
the  submission  of  its  members  will  be  merely  voluntary  also  ;  as 
no  act  of  coercion  would  be  permitted  by  the  general  law. 
These  considerations  must  control  the  society,  and  themselves 
alone  can  modify  their  own  intentions  and  wishes  to  them.  With 
this  apology  for  declining  a  task  to  which  I  am  so  unequal,  I 
pray  them  to  be  assured  of  my  sincere  wishes  for  their  success 
and  happiness,  and  yourself  particularly  of  my  high  considera- 
tion and  esteem. 


MoNTiCELLO,  February  8,  ISlT. 

3eae  Sik, — Your  favor  of  January  2d  did  not  come  to  my 
hands  until  the  5th  instant.  I  concur  entirely  in  your  leading 
principles  of  gradual  emancipation,  of  establishment  on  the  coast 


of  Africa,  and  the  patronage  of  our  nation  until  the  emigrants 
shall  be  able  to  protect  themselves.  The  subordinate  details 
might  be  easily  arranged.  But  the  bare  proposition  of  purchase 
by  the  United  States  generally,  would  excite  infinite  indignation 
in  all  the  States  north  of  Maryland.  The  sacrifice  must  fall  on 
the  States  alone  which  hold  them  ;  and  the  difficult  question  will 
be  how  to  lessen  this  so  as  to  reconcile  our  fellow  citizens  to  it. 
Personally  I  am  ready  and  desirous  to  niake  any  sacrifice  which 
shall  ensure  their  gradual  but  complete  retirement  from  the  State, 
and  efiectually,  at  the  same  time,  establish  them  elsewhere  in  free- 
dom and  safety.  But  I  have  not  perceived  the  growth  of  this 
disposition  in  the  rising  generation,  of  which  I  once  had  san- 
guine hopes.  No  symptoms  inform  me  that  it  will  take  place  in 
my  day.  I  leave  it,  therefore,  to  time,  and  not  at  all  without 
hope  that  the  day  will  come,  equally  desirable  and  welcome  to 
us  as  to  them.  Perhaps  the  proposition  now  on  the  carpet  at 
Washington  to  provide  an  establishment  on  the  coast  of  Africa 
for  voluntary  emigrations  of  people  of  color,  may  be  the  corner 
stone  of  this  future  edifice.  Praying  for  its  completion  as  early 
as  may  most  promote  the  good  of  all,  I  salute  you  with  great 
esteem  and  respect. 


QuiNOY,  April  19,  1811. 

Dear  Sir, — My  loving  and  beloved  friend  Pickering,  has  been 
pleased  to  inform  the  world  that  I  have  "  few  friends."  I  want- 
ed to  whip  the  rogue,  and  I  had  it  in  my  power,  if  it  had  been 
in  my  will  to  do  it,  till  the  blood  came.  But  all  my  real  friends, 
as  I  thought  then,  with  Dexter  and  Gray  at  their  head,  insisted 
"  that  I  should  not  say  a  word  ;  that  nothing  that  such  a  person 
could  write  would  do  me  the  least  injury ;  that  it  would  betray 
the  constitution  and  the  government,  if  a  President,  out  or  in, 
should  enter  into  a  newspaper'  controversy  with  one  of  his  min- 
isters, whom  he  had  removed  from  his  office,  in.  justification  of 


himself  for  that  removal,  or  anything  else  ;"  and  they  talked  a 
great  deal  about  the  Dignity  of  the  office  of  President,  which  I 
do  not  find  that  any  other  person,  public  or  private  regards  very 

Nevertheless,  I  fear  that  Mr.  Pickering's  information  is  too  true. 
It  is  impossible  that  any  man  should  run  such  a  gauntlet  as  I 
have  been  driven  through,  and  have  many  friends  at  last.  This 
"  all  who  know  me  know,"  though  I  cannot  say  ;  who  love  me, 

I  have,  however,  either  friends  who  wish  to  amuse  and  solace 
my  old  age,  or  enemies  who  mean  to  heap  coals  of  fire  on  my 
head,  and  kill  me  with  kindness ;  for  they  overwhelm  me  with 
books  from  all  quarters,  enough  to  obfuscate  all  eyes,  and  smoth- 
er and  stifle  all  human  understanding.  Chateaubriand,  Grinim, 
Tucker,  Dupuis,  La  Harpe,  Sismondi,  Eustace,  a  new  transla- 
tion of  Herodotus,  by  Bedloe,  with  more  notes  than  text.  What 
should  I  do  with  all  this  lumber  ?  I  make  my  "  woman-kind," 
as  the  antiquary  expresses  it,  read  to  me  all  the  English,  but  as 
they  will  not  read  the  French,  I  am  obliged  to  excruciate  my 
eyes  to  read  it  myself ;  and  all  to  what  purpose  ?  I  verily  be- 
lieve I  was  as  wise  and  good,  seventy  years  ago,  as  I  am  now. 
At  that  period  Lemuel  Bryant  was  my  parish  priest,  and  Joseph 
Cleverly  my  Latin  schoolmaster.  Lemuel  was  a  jolly,  jocular, 
and  liberal  scholar  and  divine.  Joseph  a  scholar  and  a  gentle- 
man ;  but  a  bigoted  Episcopalian,  of  the  school  of  Bishop 
Saunders,  and  Dr.  Hicks, — a  downright  conscientious,  passive 
obedience  man,  in  Church  and  State.  The  parson  and  the  peda- 
gogue lived  much  together,  but  were  eternally  disputing  about 
government  and  religion.  One  day,  when  the  schoolmaster  had 
been  more  than  commonly  fanatical,  and  declared  "  if  he  were 
a  monarch,  he  would  have  but  one  religion  in  his  dominions  ;" 
the  parson  coolly  replied,  "  Cleverly  !  you  would  be  the  best  man 
in  the  world  if  you  had  no  reUgion." 

Twenty  times  in  the  course  of  my  late  reading  have  I  been 
on  the  point  of  breaking  out,  "  This  would  be  the  best  of  all 
possible  worlds,  if  there  were  no  rehgion  in  it ! ! !"     But  in  this 


exclamation  I  should  have  been  as  fanatical  as  Bryant  or  Clever- 
ly. Without  religion  this  world  would  be  something  not  fit  to 
be  mentioned  in  polite  society,  I  mean  hell.  So  far  from  be- 
lieving in  the  total  and  universal  depravity  of  human  nature,  I 
believe  there  is  no'  individual  totally  depraved.  The  most  aban- 
doned scoundrel  that  ever  existed,  never  yet  wholly  extinguished 
his  conscience,  and  while  conscience  remains  there  is  some  re- 
ligion. Popes,  Jesuits,  and  Sorbonists,  and  Inquisitors,  have  some 
conscience  and  some  religion.  So  had  Marius  and  Sylla,  Caesar, 
Catiline  and  Antony;  and  Augustus  had  not  much  more,  let 
Virgil  and  Horace  say  what  they  will. 

What  shall  we  think  of  Virgil  and  Horace,  Sallust,  duintil- 
ian,  Pliny,  and  even  Tacitus  ?  and  even  Cicero,  Brutus  and  Sene- 
ca ?  Pompey  I  leave  out  of  the  question,  as  a  mere  politician  and 
soldier.  Every  one  of  the  great  creatures  has  left  indelible 
marks  of  conscience,  and  consequently  of  religion,  though  every 
one  of  them  has  left  abundant  proofs  of  profligate  violations  of 
their  consciences  by  their  little  and  great  passions  and  paltry  in- 

The  vast  prospect  of  mankind,  which  these  books  have  passed 
in  review  before  me,  from  the  most  ancient  records,  histories,  tra- 
ditions and  fables,  that'  remain  to  us  to  the  present  day,  has  sick- 
ened my  very  soul,  and  almost  reconciled  me  to  Swift's  travels 
among  the  Yahoos  ;  yet  I  never  can  be  a  misanthrope — Homo 
sum.  I  must  hate  myself  before  I .  can  hate  my  fellow  men  ; 
and  that  I  cannot,  and  will  not  do.  No  !  I  will  not  hate  any  of 
them,  base,  brutal,  and  devilish  as  some  of  them  have  been  to  me. 

From  the  bottom  of  my  soul,  I  pity  my  fellow  men.  Fears 
and  terrors  appear  to  have  produced  an  universal  credulity.  Fears 
of  calamities  in  life,  and  punishments  after  death,  seem  to  have 
possessed  the  souls  of  all  men.  But  fear  of  pain  and  death, 
here,  do  not  seem  to  have  been  so  unconquerable,  as  fear  of  what 
is  to  come  hereafter.  Priests,  Hierophants,  Popes,  Despots,  Em- 
perors, Kings,  Princes,  Nobles,  have  been  as  credulous  as  shoe- 
blacks, boots  and  kitchen  scullions.  The  former  seem  to  have 
believed  in  their  divine  rights  as  sincerely  as  the  latter. 


Auto  de  fees,  in  Spain  and  Portugal,  have  been  celebrated  with 
as  good  faith  as  excommunications  have  been  practised  in  Con- 
necticut, or  as  baptisms  have  been  refused  in  Philadelphia. 

How  is  it  possible  that  mankind  should  submit  to  be  governed, 
as  they  have  been,  is  to  me  an  inscrutable  mystery.  How  they 
could  bear  to  be  taxed  to  build  the  temple  of  Diana  at  Ephesus, 
the  pyramids  of  Egypt,  Saint  Peter's  at  Rome,  Notre  Dame  at 
Paris,  St.  Paul's  in  London,  with  a  million  et  ceteras,  when  my 
navy  yards  and  my  quasi  army  made  such  a  popMar  clamor,  I 
know  not.  Yet  all  my  peccadillos  never  excited  such  a  rage  as 
the  late  compensation  law  ! 

I  congratulate  you  on  the  late  election  in  Connecticut.  It  is 
a  kind  of  epocha.  Several  causes  have  conspired.  One  which 
you  would  not  suspect.  Some  one,  no  doubt  instigated  by  the 
devil,  has  taken  it  into  his  head  to  print  a  new  edition  of  the 
"  Independent  Whig,"  even  in  Connecticut,  and  has  scattered  the 
volumes  through  the  State.  These  volumes,  it  is  said,  have  pro- 
duced a  burst  of  indignation  against  priestcraft,  bigotry  and  in- 
tolerance, and  in  conjunction  with  other  causes,  have  produced 
the  late  election. 

When  writing  to  you  I  never  know  when  to  subscribe, 

J.  A. 


MoNTicELLo,  May  5,  1817. 

Dear  Sik, — Absences  and  avocations  had  prevented  my  ac- 
knowledging your  favor  of  February  the  2d,  when  that  of  April 
the  19th  arrived.  I  had  not  the  pleasure  of  receiving  the  former 
by  the  hands  of  Mr.  Lyman.  His  business  probably  carried  him 
in  another  direction  ;  for  I  am  far  inland,  and  distant  from  the 
great  line  of  communication  between  the  trading  cities.  Your 
recommendations  are  always  welcome,  for  indeed,  the  subjects 
of  them  always  merit  that  welcome,  and  some  of  them  in  an  ex- 
traordinary degree.  They  make  us  acquainted  with  what  there 
is  excellent  in  our  ancient  sister  State  of  Massachusetts,  once 


venerated  and  beloved,  and  still  hanging  on  our  hopes,  for  what 
need  we  despair  of  after  the  resurrection  of  Connecticut  to  light 
and  liberality.  I  had  believed  that  the  last  retreat  of  monkish 
darkness,  bigotry,  and  abhorrence  of  those  advances  of  the  mind 
which  had  carried  the  other  States  a  century  ahead  of  them. 
They  seemed  still  to  be  exactly  where  their  forefathers  were 
when  they  schismatized  from  the  covenant  of  works,  and  to  con- 
sider as  dangerous  heresies  all  innovations  good  or  bad.  I  join 
you,  therefore,  in  sincere  congratulations  that  this  den  of  the 
priesthood  is  at  length  broken  up,  and  that  a  Protestant  Popedom 
is  no  longer  to  disgrace  the  American  history  and  character.  If 
by  religion  we  are  to  understand  sectarian  dogmas,  in  which  no 
two  of  them  agree,  then  your  exclamation  on  that  hypothesis  is 
just,  "  that  this  would  be  the  best  of  all  possible  worlds,  if  there 
were  no  religion  in  it."  But  if  the  moral  precepts,  innate  in  man, 
and  made  a  part  of  his  physical  constitution,  as  necessary  for  a 
social  being,  if  the  sublime  doctrines  of  philanthropism  and  deism 
taught  us  by  Jesus  of  Nazareth,  in  which  all  agree,  constitute 
true  religion,  then,  without  it,  this  would  be,  as  you  again  say, 
"  something  not  fit  to  be  named,  even  indeed,  a  hell." 

You  certainly  acted  wisely  in  taking  no  notice  of  what  the 
malice  of  Pickering  could  say  of  you.  ^Were  such  things  to  be 
answered,  our  lives  would  be  wasted  in  the  filth  of  fendings  and 
provings,  instead  of  being  employed  in  promoting  the  happiness 
and  prosperity  of  our  fellow  citizens.  The  tenor  of  your  life  is 
the  proper  and  sufiicient  answer.  It  is  fortunate  for  those  in 
public  trust,  that  posterity  will  judge  them  by  their  works,  and 
not  by  the  malignant  vituperations  and  invectives  of  the  Picker- 
ings and  Gardiners  of  their  age.  After  all,  men  of  energy  of 
character  must  have  enemies ;  because  there  are  two  sides  to 
every  question,  .ind  taking  one  with  decision,  and  acting  on  it 
with  effect,  those  who  take  the  other  will  of  course  be  hostile  in 
proportion  as  they  feel  that  eff'ect.  Thus,  in  the  revolution,  Han- 
cock and  the  Adamses  were  the  raw-head  and  bloody  bones  of 
tories  and  traitors  who  yet  knew  nothing  of  you  personally  but 
what  was  good.     I  do  not  entertain  your  apprehensions  for  the 


happiness  of  our  brother  Madison  in  a  state  of  retirement.  Such 
a  mind  as  his,  fraught  with  information  and  with  matter  for  re- 
flection, can  never  know  ennui.  Besides,  there  will  always  be 
work  enough  cut  out  for  him  to  continue  his  active  usefulness  to 
his  country.  For  example,  he  and  Monroe  (the  President)  are 
now  here  on  the  work  of  a  collegiate  institution  to  be  established 
in  our  neighborhood,  of  which  they  and  myself  are  three  of  six 
visitors.  This,  if  it  succeeds,  will  raise  up  children  for  Mr.  Mad- 
ison to  employ  his  attention  through  life.  I  say  if  it  succeeds  ; 
for  we  have  two  very  essential  wants  in  our  way,  first,  means  to 
compass  our  views ;  and,  second,  men  qualified  to  fulfil  them. 
And  these,  you  will  agree,  are  essential  wants  indeed. 

I  am  glad  to  find  you  have  a  copy  of  Sismondi,  because  his 
is  a  field  familiar  to  you,  and  on  which  you  can  judge  him.  His 
work  is  highly  praised,  but  I  have  not  yet  read  it.  I  have  been 
occupied  and  delighted  with  reading  another  work,  the  title  of 
which  did  not  promise  much  useful  information  or  amusement, 
"  V Italia  avanti  il  dominio  dei  Romani  dal  Micali."  It  has 
often,  you  know,  been  a  subject  of  regret,  that  Carthage  had  no 
writer  to  give  her  side  of  her  own  history,  while  her  wealth, 
power  and  splendor,  prove  she  must  have  had  a  very  distinguish- 
ed policy  and  government.  Micali  has  given  the  counterpart  of 
the  Roman  history,  for  the  nations  over  which  they  extended 
their  dominion.  For  this  he  has  gleaned  up  matter  from  every 
quarter,  and  furnished  materials  for  reflection  and  digestion  to 
those  who,  thinking  as  they  read,  have  perceived  that  there  was 
a  great  deal  of  matter  behind  the  curtain,  could  that  be  fully 
withdrawn.  He  certainly  gives  new  views  of  a  nation  whose 
splendor  has  masked  and  palliated  their  barbarous  ambition.  1 
am  now  reading  Botta's  history  of  our  own  Revolution.  Bating 
the  ancient  practice  which  he  has  adopted,  of  putting  speeches 
into  mouths  which  never  made  them,  and  fancying  motives  of 
action  which  we  never  felt,  he  has  given  that  history  with  more 
detail,  precision  and  candor,  than  any  writer  I  have  yet  met  with. 
It  is,  to  be  sure,  compiled  from  those  writers  ;  but  it  is  a  good  se- 


cretion  of  their  matter,  the  pure  from  the  impure,  and  presented 
in  a  just  sense  of  right,  in  opposition  to  usurpation. 

Accept  assurances  for  Mrs.  Adams  and  yourself  of  my  affec- 
tionate esteem  and  respect. 

TO    DB.    JOSEPHUS    B.    STUAET. 

MoNTioELLo,  May  10,  1S17. 

Deab  Sib, — ^Your  favor  of  April  2d  is  duly  received.  I  am 
very  sensible  of  the  partiality  with  which  you  are  so  good  as  to 
review  the  course  I  have  held  in  public  life,  and  I  have  also  to 
be  thankful  to  mjr  fellow-citizens  for  a  like  indulgence  generally 
shown  to  my  endeavors  to  be  useful  to  them.  They  give  quite 
as  much  credit  as  is  merited  to  the  difficulties  supposed  to  attend 
the  public  administration.  There  are  no  mysteries  in  it.  Diffi- 
culties indeed  sometimes  arise  ;  but  common  sense  and  honest  in- 
tentions will  generally  steer  through  them,  and,  where  they  cannot 
be  surmounted,  I  have  ever  seen  the  well-intentioned  part  of  our 
fellow  citizens  sufficiently  disposed  not  to  look  for  impossibilities. 
We  all  know  that  a  farm,  however  large,  is  not  more  difficult  to 
direct  than  a  garden,  and  does  not  call  for  more  attention  or  skill. 

I  hope  with  you  that  the  policy  of  our  country  will  settle  down 
"with  as  much  navigation  and  commerce  only  as  our  own  ex- 
changes .will  require,  and  that  the  disadvantage  will  be  seen  of 
our  undertaking  to  carry  on  that  of  other  nations.  This,  indeed, 
may  bring  gain  to  a  few  individuals,  and  enable  them  to  call  off 
from  our  farms  more  laborers  to  be  converted  into  lackeys  anr' 
grooms  for  them,  but  it  will  bring  nothing  to  our  country  bu 
wars,  debt,  and  dilapidation.  This  has  been  the  course  of  Eng- 
land, and  her  examples  have  fearful  influence  on  us.  In  copy 
ing  her  we  do  not  seem  to  consider  that  like  premises  induce  like 
consequences.  The  bank  mania  is  one  of  the  most  threatening 
of  these  imitations.  It  is  raising  up  a  monied  aristocracy  in  jur 
country  which  has  already  set  the  government  at  defiance,  and 
although  forced  at  length  to  yield  a  little  on  this  first  essay  of 


their  strength,  their  principles  are  nnyielded  and  unyielding. 
These  have  taken  deep  root  in  the  hearts  of  that  class  from  which 
our  legislators  are  drawn,  and  the  sop  to  Cerberus  from  fable  has 
become  history.  Their  principles  lay  hold  of  the  good,  their 
pelf  of  the  bad,  and  thus  those  whom  the  constitution  had  placed 
as  guards  to  its  portals,  are  sophisticated  or  suborned  from  their 
duties.  That  paper  money  has  some  advantages,  is  admitted. 
But  that  its  abuses  also  are  inevitable,  and,  by  breaking  up  the 
measure  of  value,  makes  a  lottery  of  all  private  property,  cannot 
be  denied.  Shall  we  ever  be  able  to  put  a  constitutional  veto  on  it  ? 
You  say  I  must  go  to  writing  history.  While  in  public  life  I 
had  not  time,  and  now  thai,  I  am  retired,  I  am  past  the  time. 
To  write  history  requires  a  whole  life  of  observation,  of  inquiry, 
of  labor  and  correction.  Its  materials  are  not  to  be  found  among 
the  ruins  of  a  decayed  memory.  At  this  day  I  should  begin 
where  I  ought  to  have  left  off.  The  "  solve  senes  centem  equum" 
is  a  precept  we  learn  in  youth  but  for  the  practice  of  age ;  and 
were  I  to  disregard  it,  it  would  be  but  a  proof  the  more  of  its 
soundness.  If  anything  has  ever  merited  to  me  the  respect  of 
my  fellow  citizens,  themselves,  I  hope,  would  wish  me  not  to 
lose  it  by  exposing  the  decay  of  faculties  of  which  it  was  the  re- 
ward. I  must  then,  dear  Sir,  leave  to  yourself  and  your  brethren 
of  the  rising  generation,  to  arraign  at  your  tribunal  the  actions 
of  your  predecessors,  and  to  pronounce  the  sentence  they  may 
have  merited  or  incurred.  If  the  sacrifices  of  that  age  have  re- 
sulted in  the  good  of  this,  then  all  is  well,  and  we  shall  be  re- 
warded by  their  approbation,  and  shall  be  authorized  to  say,  "  go 
ye  and  do  likewise."  To  yourself  I  tender  personally  the  assur- 
ance of  my  great  esteem  and  respect. 

TO    MAK^UIS    DE    LA    FArETTt. 

MoNTioEiLO,  May  14,  1817. 

Although,  dear  Sir,  much  retired  from  the  world,  and  med- 
dling little  in  its  concerns,  yet  I  think  it  almost  a  religious  duty  to 

vol..  VII. 


salute  at  times  my  old  friends,  were  it  only  to  say  and  to  know 
that  "  all's  well."  Our  hobby  has  been  politics  ;  bat  all  here  is 
so  quiet,  and  with  you  so  desperate,  that  little  matter  is  furnished 
us  for  active  attention.  With  you  too,  it  has  long  been  forbid- 
den ground,  and  therefore  imprudent  for  a  foreign  friend  to  tread, 
in  writing  to  you.  But  although  our  speculations  might  be  in- 
trusive, our  prayers  cannot  but  be  acceptable,  and  mine  are  sin- 
cerely offered  for  the  well-being  of  France.  What  government 
she  can  bear,  depends  not  on  the  state  of  science,  however  ex- 
alted, in  a  select  band  of  enlightened  men,  but  on  the  condition 
of  the  general  mind.  That,  I  am  sure,  is  advanced  and  will  ad- 
vance ;  and  the  last  change  of  government  was  fortunate,  inas- 
much as  the  new  will  be  less  obstructive  to  the  effects  of  that  ad- 
vancement. For  I  consider  your  foreign  military  oppressions  as 
an  ephemeral  obstacle  only. 

Here  all  is  quiet.  The  British  war  has  left  us  in  debt ;  but 
that  is  a  cheap  price  for  the  good  it  has  done  us.  The  establish- 
ment of  the  necessary  manufactures  among  ourselves,  the  proof 
that  our  government  is  solid,  can  stand  the  shock  of  war,  and  is  , 
superior  even  to  civil  schism,  are  precious  facts  for  us ;  and  of 
these  the  strongest  proofs  were  furnished,  when,  with  four  east- 
ern States  tied  to  us,  as  dead  to  living  bodies,  ail  doubt  was  re- 
moved as  to  the  achievements  of  the  war,  had  it  continued.  But 
its  best  effect  has  been  the  complete  suppression  of  party.  The 
federalists  who  were  truly  American,  and  their  great  mass  was  so, 
have  separated  from  their  brethren  who  were  mere  Auglomen,  and 
are  received  with  cordiality  into  the  republican  ranks.  Even 
Connecticut,  as  a  State,  and  the  last  one  expected  to  yield  its 
steady  habits  (which  were  essentially  bigoted  in  politics  as  well 
as  religion),  has  chosen  a  republican  governor,  and  republicau 
legislature.  Massachusetts  indeed  still  lags;  because  most  deeply 
involved  iu  the  parricide  crimes  and  treasons  of  the  war.  But 
her  gangrene  is  contracting,  the  sound  flesh  advancing  on  it,  and  i 
all  there  will  be  well.  I  mentioned  Connecticut  as  the  most 
hopeless  of  our  States.  Little  Delaware  had  escaped  my  atten- 
tion.    That  is  essentially  a  Q,uaker  State,  the  fragment  of  a  re- 


ligious  sect  which,  there,  in  the  other  States,  in  England,  are 
a  homogeneous  mass,  acting  with  one  mind,  and  that  directed  by 
the  mother  society  in  England.  Dispersed,  as  the  Jews,  they 
still  form,  as  those  do,  one  nation,  foreign  to  the  land  they  Ive 
in.  They  are  Protestant  .Jesuits,  imphcitly  devoted  to  the  will 
of  their  superior,  and  forgetting  all  duties  to  their  country  in  the 
execution  of  the  policy  of  their  order.  When  war  is  proposed 
with  England,  they  have  religious  scruples ;  but  when  with 
Prance,  these  are  laid  by,  and  they  become  clamorous  for  it. 
They  are,  however,  silent,  passive,  and  give  no  other  trouble 
than  of  whipping  them  along.  Nor  is  the  election  of  Monroe  an 
inefHcient  circumstance  in  our  felicities.  Four  and  twenty  years, 
which  he  will  accomplish,  of  administration  in  republican  forms 
and  principles,  will  so  consecrate  them  in  the  eyes  of  the  people 
as  to  secure  them  against  the  danger  of  change.  The  evanition 
of  party  dissensions  has  harmonized  intercourse,  and  sweetened 
society  beyond  imagination.  The  war  then  has  done  us  all  this 
good,  and  the  further  one  of  assuring  the  world,  that  although 
attached  to  peace  from  a  sense  of  its  blessings,  we  will  meet  war 
when  it  is  made  necessary. 

I  wish  I  could  give  better  hopes  of  our  southern  brethren. 
The  achievement  of  their  independence  of  Spain  is  no  longer  o 
question.  But  it  is  a  very  serious  one,  what  will  then  become 
of  them  ?  Ignorance  and  bigotry,  like  other  insanities,  are  in- 
capable of  self-government.  They  will  fall  under  military  des- 
potism, and  become  the  murderous  tools  of  the  ambition  of  their 
respective  Bonapartes ;  and  whether  this  will  be  for  their  greater 
happiness,  the  rule  of  one  only  has  taught  you  to  judge.  No 
one,  I  hope,  can  doubt  my  wish  to  see  them  and  all  mankind  ex- 
ercising self-government,  and  capable  of  exercising  it.  But  the 
question  is  not  what  we  wish,  but  what  is  practicalile  ?  As  their 
sincere  friend  and  brother  then,  I  do  believe  the  best  thing  for 
them,  would  be  for  themselves  to  come  to  an  accord  with  Spain, 
under  the  guarantee  of  France,  Russia,  Holland,  and  the  United 
States,  allowing  to  Spain  a  nominal  supremacy,  with  authority 
only  to  keep  the  peace  among  them,  leaving  them  othe'rwise  all 


the  powers  of  self-goverment,  until  their  experience  in  them 
their  emancipation  from  their  priests,  and  advancement  in  infor- 
mation, shall  prepare  them  for  complete  independence.  1  exclude 
England  from  this  confederacy,  because  her  selfish  principles 
render  her  incapable  of  honoralile  patronage  or  disinterested  co- 
operation ;  unless,  indeed,  what  seems  now  probable,  a  revolu- 
lion  should  restore  to  her  an  honest  government,  one  which  will 
permit  the  world  to  live  in  peace.  Portugal  grasping  at  an  ex- 
tension of  her  dominion  in  the  south,  has  lost  her  great  northern 
province  of  Pernambuco,  and  I  shall  not  wonder  if  Brazil  should 
revolt  in  mass,  and  send  their  royal  family  back  to  Portugal. 
Brazil  is  more  populous,  more  wealthy,  more  energetic,  and  as 
wise  as  Portugal.  I  have  been  insensibly  led,  my  dear  friend, 
while  writing  to  you,  to  indulge  in  that  line  of  sentiment  in 
which  we  have  been  always  associated,  forgetting  that  these  are 
matters  not  belonging  to  my  time.  Not  so  with  you,  who  have 
still  many  years  to  be  a  spectator  of  these  events.  That  these 
years  may  indeed  be  many  and  happy,  is  the  sincere  prayer  of 
your  affectionate  friend. 


QuiN'Cv,  May  18,  ISIT. 

Dear  Sir, — Lyman  was  mortified  that  he  could  not  visit  Monr 
ticello.  He  is  gone  to  Europe  a  second  time.  I  regret  that  he 
did  not  see  you,  he  would  have  executed  any  commission  for  you 
in  the  literary  line,  at  any  pain  or  any  expense.  I  have  many 
apprehensions  for  his  health,  which  is  very  delicate  and  preca- 
rious, but  he  is  seized  with  the  mania  of  all  our  young  clerical 
spirits  for  foreign  travel ;  I  fear  they  will  lose  more  than  they  ac- 
quire, they  will  lose  that  unadulterated  enthusiasm  for  their  na- 
tive country,  which  has  produced  the  greatest  characters  among 

Oh !  Lord !  Do  you  think  that  Protestant  Popedom  is  annihi- 
lated in  America  ?     Do  you  recollect,  or  have  you  ever  attended 


to  the  ecclesiastical  strifes  in  Maryland,  Pennsylvania,  New  York, 
and  every  part  of  New  England  ?  What  a  mercy  it  is  that  these 
people  cannot  whip,  and  crop,  and  pillory,  and  roast,  as  yet  in 
the  United  States !  If  they  could,  they  would.  Do  you  know 
the  General  of  the  Jesuits,  and  consequently  all  his  host,  have 
their  eyes  on  this  country?  Do  you  know  that  the  Church  of 
England  is  employing  more  means  and  more  art,  to  propagate 
iheir  demi-popery  among  us,  than  ever  ?  Quakers,  Anabaptists, 
Moravians,  Swedenborgians,  Methodists,  Unitarians,  Nothinga- 
rians in  all  Europe  are  employing  underhand  means  to  propagate 
their  sectarian  system  in  these  States. 

The  multitude  and  diversity  of  them,  you  will  say,  is  our  se- 
curity against  them  all.  God  grant  it.  But  if  we  consider  that 
the  Presbyterians  and  Methodists  are  far  the  most  numerous  and 
the  most  likely  to  unite,  let  a  George  Whitefield  arise,  with  a 
military  cast,  like  Mahomet  or  Loyola,  and  what  will  become  of 
all  the  other  sects  who  can  never  unite  ? 

My  friends  or  enemies  continue  to  overwhelm  me  with  books. 
Whatever  may  be  their  intention,  charitable  or  otherwise,  they 
certainly  contribute  to  continue  me  to  vegetate,  much  as  I  have 
done  for  the  sixteen  years  last  past. 

Sir  John  Malcolm's  history  of  Persia,  and  Sir  William  Jones' 
works,  are  now  poured  out  upon  me,  and  a  little  cargo  is  coming 
from  Europe.  What  can  I  do  with  all  this  learned  lumber  ?  Is 
it  necessary  to  salvation  to  investigate  all  these  Cosmogonies  and 
Mythologies  ?  Are  Bryant,  Gebelin,  Dupuis,  or  Sir  William  Jones, 
right?  What  a  frown  upon  mankind  was  the  premature. death 
of  Sir  William  Jones !  Why  could  not  Jones  and  Dupuis  have 
conversed  or  corresponded  with  each  other  ?  Had  Jones  read 
Dupuis,  or  Dupuis  Jones,  the  works  of  both  would  be  immense- 
ly improved,  though  each  would  probably  have  adhered  to  his 

I  should  admire  to  see  a  counsel  composed  of  Gebelin,  Bryant, 
Jones  and  Dupuis.  Let  them  live  together  and  compare  notes. 
The  human  race  ought  to  contribute  to  furnish  them  with  all  the 
books  in  the  Universe,  and  the  means  of  subsistence. 


I  am  not  expert  enough  in  Italian  to  read  Botta,  and  I  know 
not  that  he  has  been  translated.  Indeed,  I  have  been  so  little  sat- 
isfied with  histories  of  the  American  revolution,  that  I  have  long 
since  ceased  to  read  them.  The  truth  is  lost,  in  adulatory  panegy- 
rics, and  in  vituperary  insolence.  I  wish  you,  Mr.  Madison,  and 
Mr.  Monroe,  success  in  your  collegiate  institution.  And  I  wish 
that  superstition  in  religion,  exciting  superstition  in  politics,  and 
both  united  in  directing  military  force,  alias  glory,  may  never 
blow  up  all  your  benevolent  and  philanthropic  lucubrations.  But 
the  history  of  all  ages  is  against  you. 

It  is  said  that  no  effort  in  favor  of  virtue  is  ever  lost.  I  doubt 
whether  it  was  ever  true  ;  whether  it  is  now  true ;  but  hope  it 
will  be  true.  In  the  moral  government  of  the  world,  no  doubt 
it  was,  is,  and  ever  will  be  true ;  but  it  has  not  yet  appeared  to 
be  true  on  this  earth. 

I  am.  Sir,  sincerely  your  friend. 

P.  S.  Have  you  seen  the  Philosophy  of  Human  Nature,  and 
the  History  of  the  War  in  the  western  States,  from  Kentucky? 
How  vigorously  science  and  literature  spring  up,  as  well  as  pat- 
riotism and  heroism,  in  transalleganian  regions  ?  Have  you  seen 
Wilkinson's  history  ?  «fcc.,  &c. 


QuiNCY,  May  26,  1817. 

Dear  Sir, — Mr.  Leslie  Combes  of  Kentucky  has  sent  mo  a 
history  of  the  late  war,  in  the  western  country,  by  Mr.  Robert 
B.  M-SiflVe,  and  the  Philosophy  of  Human  Nature,  by  Joseph 
Buclianan.  The  history  I  am  glad  to  see,  because  it  will  pre- 
serve facts  to  the  honor  and  immortal  glory  of  the  western  people. 
Indeed,  I  am  not  sorry  that  the  Philosophy  has  been  published, 
because  it  has  been  a  maxim  with  me  for  sixty  years  at  least, 
never  to  be  afraid  of  a  book. 

Nevertheless,  I  cannot  foresee  much  utility  in  revJev-'ing,  in 


this  country,  the  controversy  between  the  Spiritnahsts  and  the  Ma- 
terialists. Why  should  time  be  wasted  in  disputing  about  two 
substances,  when  both  parties  agree  that  neither  knows  anything 
about  either 

If  spirit  is  an  abstraction,  a  conjecture,  a  chimera ;  matter  is  an 
abstraction,  a  conjecture,  a  chimera  ;  for  we  know  as  much,  or 
rather  as  little,  about  one  as  the  other.  We  may  read  Cud^s-orth, 
Le  Clerc,  Leibnitz,  Berkley,  Hume,  Bolingbroke  and  Priestley,  and 
a  million  other  volumes  in  all  ages,  and  be  obliged  at  last  to  con- 
fess that  we  have  learned  nothing.  Spirit  and  matter  still  re- 
main riddles.  Define  the  terms,  however,  and  the  controversy 
is  soon  settled.  If  spirit  is  an  active  something,  and  matter  an 
inactive  something,  it  is  certain  that  one  is  not  the  other.  We 
can  no  more  conceive  that  extension,  or  solidity,  can  think,  or 
feel,  or  see,  or  hear,  or  taste,  or  smell ;  than  we  can  conceive 
that  perception,  memory,  imagination,  or  reason,  can  remove  a 
mountain,  or  blow  a  rock.  This  enigma  has  puzzled  mankind 
from  the  beginning,  and  probably  will  to  the  end.  Economy  of 
time  requires  that  we  should  waste  no  more  in  so  idle  an  amuse- 

In  the  eleventh  discourse  of  Sir  William  Jones,  before  the 
Asiatic  Society,  vol.  iii.,  page  229,  of  his  works,  we  find  that 
Materialists  and  Immaterialists  existed  in  India,  and  that  they 
accused  each  other  of  atheism,  before  Berkley,  or  Priestley,  or 
Dupuis,  or  Plato,  or  Pythagoras,  were  born. 

Indeed,  Newton  himself  appears  to  have  discovered  nothing 
that  was  not  known  to  the  ancient  Indians.  He  has  only  fur- 
nished more  complete  demonstrations  of  the  doctrines  they  taught. 
Sir  John  Malcolm  agrees  with  Jones  and  Dupuis,  in  the  Astro- 
logical origin  of  heathen  mythologies.  Vain  man  !  mind  your 
own  business  !  Do  no  wrong ; — do  all  the  good  you  can  !  Eat 
your  canvas-back  ducks!  Drink  your  Burgundy  !  Sleep  your 
siesta  when  necessary,  and  trust  in  god  ! 

What  a  mighty  bubble,  what  a  tremendous  waterspout,  has 
Napoleon  been,  accordnig  to  his  life,  written  by  himself !  He 
says  he  was  the  creature  of  the  principlos  and  manners  of  the 


age  ;  by  which,  no  doubt,  he  means  the  age  of  Reason ;  the  pro- 
gress of  Manilius'  Ratio,  of  Plato's  Logos,  &c.  I  believe  him. 
A  whirlwind  raised  him,  and  a  whirlwind  blowed  him  away  to 
St.  Helena.  He  is  very  confident  that  the  age  of  Reason  is  not 
past,  and  so  am  I ;  but  I  hope  that  Reason  will  never  again 
rashly  and  hastily  create  such  creatures  as  him.  Liberty,  equal- 
ity, fraternity,  and  humanity,  will  never  again,  I  hope,  blindly 
surrender  themselves  to  an  unbounded  ambition  for  national  con- 
quests, nor  implicitly  commit  themselves  to  the  custody  and 
guardianship  of  arms  and  heroes.  If  they  do,  they  will  again 
end  in  St.  Helena,  Inquisitions,  Jesuits,  and  sacre  liqiies. 

Poor  Laureate  Southey  is  writhing  in  torments  under  the  laugh 
of  the  three  kingdoms,  all  Europe,  and  America,  upon  the  publi- 
cation of  his  "  Wat  Tyler."  I  wonder  whether  he  or  Bonaparte 
suffera  most.  I  congratulate  you,  and  Madison,  and  Monroe,  on 
your  noble  employment  in  founding  a  university.  From  such  a 
nobln  Triumvirate,  the  world  will  expect  something  very  great 
and  very  new  ;  but  if  it  contains  anything  quite  original,  and 
very  excellent,  I  fear  the  prejudices  are  too  deeply  rooted  to  suf- 
fer it  to  last  long,  though  it  may  be  accepted  at  first.  It  will  not 
always  have  three  such  colossal  reputations  to  support  it. 

The  Pernambuco  Ambassador,  his  Secretary  of  legation,  and 
private  Secretary,  respectable  people,  have  made  me  .a  visit. 
Having  been  some  year  or  two  in  a  similar  situation,  I  could  not 
but  sympathize  with  him.  As  Bonaparte  says,  the  age  of  Reason 
is  not  ended.  Nothing  can  totally  extinguish,  or  echpse  the  light 
which  has  been  shed  abroad  by  the  press. 

I  am.  Sir,  with  hearty  wishes  for  your  health  and  happiness, 
your  friend  and  humble  servant. 


.Mo.M'KKI.Ul,  JlUK'   12,    1817. 

Sir, — Your  favor  of  May  20th  has  been  received  some  time 
Rince,  but  the  increasing  inertness  of  age  renders  me  slow  m 


obeying  the  calls  of  the  writing-table,  and  less  equal  than  I  have 
been  to  its  labors. 

My  opinion  on  the  right  of  Expatriation  has  been,  so  long  ago 
as  the  year  1776,  consigned  to  record  in  the  act  of  the  Virginia 
code,  drawn  by  myself,  recognizing  the  right  expressly,  and  pre- 
scribing the  mode  of  exercising  it.  The  evidence  of  this  natural 
right,  like  that  of  our  right  to  life,  liberty,  the  use  of  our  facul- 
ties, the  pursuit  of  happiness,  is  not  left  to  the  feeble  and  sophis- 
tical investigations  of  reason,  but  is  impressed  on  the  sense  of 
every  man.  We  do  not  claim  these  under  the  charters  of  kings 
or  legislators,  but  under  the  King  of  kings.  If  he  has  made  it 
a  law  in  the  natuie  of  man  to  pursue  his  own  happiness,  he  has 
left  him  free  in  the  choice  of  place  as  well  as  mode  ;  and  we 
may  safely  call  on  the  whole  body  of  English  jurists  to  produce 
the  map  on  which  Nature  has  traced,  for  each  individual,  the 
geographical  line  which  she  forbids  him  to  cross  in  pursuit  of 
happiness.  It  certainly  does  not  exist  in  his  mind.  Where, 
then,  is  it?  I  believe,  too,  I  might  safely  affirm,  that  there  is 
not  another  nation,  civilized  or  savage,  which  has  ever  denied 
this  natural  right.  I  doubt  if  there  is  another  which  refuses  its 
exercise.  I  know  it  is  allowed  in  some  of  the  most  respectable 
countries  of  continental  Europe,  nor  have  I  ever  heard  of  one  in 
which  it  was  not.  How  it  is  among  our  savage  neighbor*,  who 
have  no  law  but  that  of  Nature,  we  all  know. 

Though  long  estranged  from  legal  reading  and  reasoning,  and 
little  familiar  with  the  decisions  of  particular  judges,  I  have  con- 
sidered that  respecting  the  obligation  of  the  common  law  in  this 
country  as  a  very  plain  one,  and  merely  a  question  of  document. 
If  we  are  under  that  law,  the  document  which  made  us  so  can 
surely  be  produced ;  and  as  far  as  this  can  be  produced,  so  far  we 
^re  subject  to  it,  and  farther  we  are  not.  Most  of  the  States  did, 
1  believe,  at  an  early  period  of  their  legislation,  adopt  the  English 
l-aw,  common  and  statute,  more  or  less  in  a  body,  as  far  as  locali- 
ties admitted  of  their  application.  In  these  States,  then,  the 
common  law,  so  far  as  adopted,  is  the  lex-loci.  Then  comes  the 
law  of  Congress,  declaring  that  what  is  law  in  any  State,  shall 


be  the  rule  of  decision  in  their  courts,  as  to  matters  arising  within 
that  State,  except  when  controlled  by  their  own  statutes.  But 
this  law  of  Congress  has  been  considered  as  extending  to  civil 
eases  only ;  and  that  no  such  provision  has  been  made  for  crim- 
inal ones.  A  similar  provision,  then,  for  criminal  offences,  would, 
in  like  manner,  be  an  adoption  of  more  or  less  of  the  common 
law,  as  part  of  the  lex-loci,  where  the  offence  is  committed  ;  and 
would  cover  the  whole  field  of  legislation  for  the  general  gov- 
ernment. I  have  turned  to  the  passage  you  refer  to  in  Judge 
Cooper's  Justinian,  and  should  suppose  the  general  expressions 
there  used  would  admit  of  modifications  conformable  to  this  doc- 
trine. It  would  alarm  me  indeed,  in  any  case,  to  find  myself 
entertaining  an  opinion  different  from  that  of  a  judgment  so  ac- 
curately organized  as  his.  But  I  am  quite  persuaded  that,  when- 
ever Judge  Cooper  shall  be  led  to  consider  that  question  simply 
and  nakedly,  it  is  so  much  within  his  course  of  thinking,  as 
liberal  as  logical,  that,  rejecting  all  blind  and  undefined  obliga- 
tion, he  will  hold  to  the  positive  and  explicit  precepts  of  the  law 
alone.  Accept  these  hasty  sentiments  on  the  subjects  you  pro- 
pose, as  hazarded  in  proof  of  my  great  esteem  and  respect. 


MoNTioELLo,  June  IS,  1817. 

Dear  Sir, — The  receipt  of  your  Distributio  Geographica 
Plaatarum,  with  the  duty  of  thanking  you  for  a  work  which 
sheds  so  much  new  and  valuable  light  on  botanical  science,  ex- 
cites the  desire,  also,  of  presenting  myself  to  your  recollection, 
and  of  expressing  to  you  those  sentiments  of  high  admiration 
and  esteem,  which,  although  long  silent,  have  never  slept.  The- 
physical  information  you  have  given  us  of  a  country  hitherto  so 
shamefully  unknown,  has  come  exactly  in  time  to  guide  our  un- 
derstandings in  the  great  political  revolution  now  bringing  it  into 
prominence  on  the  stage  of  the  world.  The  issue  of  its  strug- 
gles, as  they  respect  Spain,  is  no  longer  matter  of  doubt.     Ab  it 


respects  their  own  liberty,  peace  and  happiness,  we  cannot  be 
quite  so  certain.  Whether  the  blinds  of  bigotry,  the  shackles 
of  the  priesthood,  and  the  fascinating  glare  of  rank  and  wealth, 
give  fair  play  to  the  common  sense  of  the  mass  of  their  people,  so 
far  ds  to  qualify  them  for  self-government,  is  what  we  do  not 
know.  Perhaps  our  wishes  may  be  stronger  than  our  hopes. 
The  first  principle  of  republicanism  is,  that  the  lex-majoris  partis 
is  the  fLUidamental  law  of  every  society  of  individuals  of  equal 
rights;  to  consider  the  will  of  the  society  enounced  by  the  ma- 
jority of  a  single  vote,  as  sacred  as  if  unanimous,  is  the  first  of 
all  lessons  in  importance,  yet  the  last  which  is  thoroughly  learnt. 
This  law  once  disregarded,  no  other  remains  but  that  of  force, 
which  ends  necessarily  in  military  despotism.  This  has  been 
the  history  of  the  French  revolution,  and  I  wish  the  understand- 
ing of  our  Southern  brethren  may  be  sufficiently  enlarged  and 
firm  to  see  that  their  fate  depends  on  its  sacred  observance. 

In  our  America  we  are  turning  to  public  improvements. 
Schools,  roads,  and  canals,  are  everywhere  -either  in  operation  or 
contemplation.  The  most  gigantic  undertaking  yet  proposed,  is 
that  of  New  York,  for  drawing  the  waters  of  Lake  Erie  into  the 
Hudson.  The  distance  is  353  miles,  and  the  height  to  be  sur- 
mounted 661  feet.  The  expense  will  be  great,  bat  its  effect  in- 
calculably powerful  in  favor  of  the  Atlantic  States.  Internal 
navigation  by  steamboats  is  rapidly  spreading  through  all  our 
States,  and  that  by  sails  and  oars  will  ere  long  be  looked  back  to 
as  among  the  curiosities  of  antiquity.  We  count  much,  too,  on 
its  efiicacy  for  harbor  defence  ;  and  it  will  soon  be  tried  for  nav- 
igation by  sea.  We  consider  the  employment  of  the  contribu- 
tions which  our  citizens  can  spare,  after  feeding,  and  clothing, 
and  lodging  themselves  comfortably,  as  more  useful,  more  moral, 
and  even  more  splendid,  than  that  preferred  by  Europe,  of  de- 
stroying human  life,  labor  and  happiness. 

I  write  this  letter  without  knowing  where  it  will  find  you. 
But  wherever  that  may  be,  I  am  sure  it  will  find  you  engaged  in 
something  instructive  for  man.  If  at  Paris,  you  are  of  course  in 
habits  of  society  with  Mi'.  Gallatin,  our  worthy,  oui-  able,  and  ex- 


cellent  minister,  who  will  give  you,  from  time  to  time,  the  de- 
tails of  the  progress  of  a  country  in  whose  prosperity  you  are  so 
good  as  to  feel  an  interest,  and  in  which  your  name  is  revered 
among  those  of  the  great  worthies  of  the  world.  God  bless  you, 
and  preserve  you  long  to  enjoy  the  gratitude  of  your  fellow  men, 
and  to  be  blessed  with  honors,  health  and  happiness. 

TO    M.    DE    MAEBOIS. 

MoNTicKLLO,  June  14,  1817. 

I  thank  you,  dear  Sir,  for  the  copy  of  the  interesting  narrative 
of  the  Complet  d'Arnold,  which  you  have  been  so  kind  as  to 
send  me.  It  throws  light  on  that  incident  of  history  which  we 
did  not  possess  before.  An  incident  which  merits  to  be  known, 
as  a  lesson  to  mankind,  in  all  its  details.  This  mark  of  your 
attention  recalls  to  my  mind  the  earlier  period  of  life  a-t  which  I 
had  the  pleasure  of  your  personal  acquaintance,  and  renews  the 
sentiments  of  high  respect  and  esteem  with  which  that  acquaint- 
ance inspired  me.  I  had  not  failed  to  accompany  your  personal 
sufferings  during  the  civil  convulsions  of  your  country,  and  had 
sincerely  sympathized  with  them.  An  awful  period,  indeed,  has 
passed  in  Europe  since  our  first  acquaintance.  When  I  left 
France  at  the  close  of  '89,  your  revolution  was,  as  I  thought, 
under  the  direction  of  able  and  honest  men.  But  the  madness 
of  some  of  their  successors,  the  vices  of  others,  the  malicious  in- 
trigues of  an  envious  and  corrupting  neighbor,  the  tracasserie  of 
the  Directory,  the  usurpations,  the  havoc,  and  devastations  of 
your  Attila,  and  the  equal  usurpations,  depredations  and  oppress- 
ions cf  your  hypocritical  deliverers,  will  form  a  mournful  period 
in  the  history  of  man,  a  period  of  which  the  last  chapter  will 
not  be  seen  in  your  day  or  mine,  and  one  which  I  still  fear  is 
to  be  written  in  characters  of  blood.  Had  Bonaparte  reflected 
that  such  is  the  moral  construction  of  the  world,  that  no  national 
crime  passes  unpunished  in  the  long  run,  he  would  not  now  be 
in  the  cage  of  St.  Helena ;  and  were  your  present  oppressors  to 


reflect  on  the  same  truth,  they  would  spare  to  their  own  countries 
the  penaUies  on  their  present  wrongs  which  will  be  inflicted  on 
Ihem  on  future  times.  The  seeds  of  hatred  and  revenge  which 
they  are  now  sowing  with  a  large  hand,  will  not  fail  to  produce 
their  fruits  in  time.  Like  their  brother  robbers  on  the  highway, 
they  suppose  the  escape  of  the  moment  a  final  escape,  and  deem 
infamy  and  future  risk  countervailed  by  present  gain.  Oar  lot 
has  been  happier.  When  you  witnessed  our  first  struggles  in 
the  war  of  independence,  you  little  calculated,  more  than  we 
did,  on  the  rapid  growth  and  prosperity  of  this  country ;  on  the 
practical  demonstration  it  was  about  to  exhibit,  of  the  happy 
truth  that  man  is  capable  of  self-government,  and  only  rendered 
otherwise  by  the  moral  degradation  designedly  superinduced  on 
him  by  the  wicked  acts  of  his  tyrants. 

I  have  much  confidence  that  we  shall  proceed  successfully  for 
ages  to  come,  and  that,  contrary  to  the  principle  of  Montesquieu, 
it  will  be  seen  that  the  larger  the  extent  of  country,  the  more  firm 
its  republican  structure,  if  founded,  not  on  conquest,  but  in  princi- 
ples of  compact  and  equality.  My  hope  of  its  duration  is  built 
much  on  the  enlargement  of  the  resources  of  life  going  hand  in 
hand  with  the  enlargement  of  territory,  and  the  belief  that  men  are 
disposed  to  live  honestly,  if  the  means  of  doing  so  are  open  to  them. 
With  the  consolation  of  this  belief  in  the  future  result  of  our  labors. 
I  have  that  of  other  prophets  who  foretell  distant  events,  that  I 
shall  not  live  to  see  it  falsified.  My  theory  nas  always  been. 
that  if  we  are  to  dream,  the  flatteries  of  hope  are  as  cheap,  and 
pleasanter  than  the  gloom  of  despair.  I  wish  to  yourself  a  long 
life  of  honors,  health  and  happiness. 


MoNTioELLO,  June  10,  1817. 

Dear  Sir, — The  importance  that  the  enclosed  letters  .should 
safely  reach  their  destination,  impels  me  to  avail  myself  of  the 
protection  of  your  cover.     This  is  an  inconvenience  to  which 


your  situation  exposes  you,  while  it  adds  to  the  opportunities  of 
exercising  yourself  in  works  of  charity. 

According  to  the  opinion  I  hazarded  to  you  a  little  before  yout 
departure,  we  have  had  almost  an  entire  change  in  the  body  of 
Congress.  The  unpopularity  of  the  compensation  law  was  com- 
pleted, by  the  manner  of  repealing  it  as  to  all  the  world  except 
themselves.  In  some  States,  it  is  said,  every  member  is  changed  ; 
in  all,  many.  What  opposition  there  was  to  the  original  law. 
was  chiefly  from  southern  members.  Yet  many  of  those  have 
been  left  out,  because  they  received  the  advanced  wages.  I 
have  never  known  so  unanimous  a  sentiment  of  disapprobation  ; 
and  what  is  remarkable  is,  that  it  was  spontaneous.  The  news- 
papers were  almost  entirely  silent,  and  the  people  not  only  unled 
by  their  leaders,  but  in  opposition  to  them.  I  confess  I  was 
highly  pleased  with  this  proof  of  the  innate  good  sense,  the  vigi- 
lance, and  the  determination  of  the  people  to  act  for  them- 

Among  the  laws  of  the  late  Congress,  some  were  of  note  ;  a 
navigation  act,  particularly,  applicable  to  those  nations  only  who 
have  navigation  acts  ;  pinching  one  of  them  especially,  not  only 
in  the  general  way,  but  in  the  intercourse  with  her  foreign  pos- 
sessions. This  part  may  re-act  on  us,  and  it  remains  for  trial 
which  may  bear  longest.  A  law  respecting  our  conduct  as  a 
neutral  between  Spain  and  her  contending  colonies,  was  passed 
by  a  majority  of  one  only,  I  believe,  and  against  the  very  general 
sentiment  of  our  country.  It  is  thought  to  strain  our  complais- 
ance to  Spain  beyond  her  right  or  merit,  and  almost  against  the 
right  of  the  other  party,  and  certainly  against  the  claims  they 
have  to  our  good  wishes  and  neighborly  relations.  That  we 
should  wish  to  see  the  people  of  other  countries  free,  is  as  nat'iral, 
and  at  least  as  justifiable,  as  that  one  King  should  wish  to  see  the 
Kings  of  other  countries  maintained  in  their  despotism.  Right 
to  both  parties,  innocent  favor  to  the  juster  cause,  is  our  proper 

You  will  have  learned  that  an  act  for  internal  improvement, 
after  passing  both  Houses,  was  negatived  by  the  President.    The 


act  was  founded,  avowedly,  on  the  principle  that  the  phrase  in 
the  constitution  which  authorizes  Congress  "  to  lay  taxes,  to  pay 
the  debts  and  provide  for  the  general  welfare,"  was  an  extension 
of  the  powers  specifically  enumerated  to  whatever  would  promote 
the  general  welfare ;  and  this,  you  know,  was  the  federal  doc- 
trine. Whereas,  our  tenet  ever  was,  and,  indeed,  it  is  almost  the 
only  landmark  which  now  divides  the  federalists  from  the  re- 
publicans, that  Congress  had  not  unlimited  powers  to  provide  for 
the  general  welfare,  but  were  restrained  to  those  specifically  enu- 
merated ;  and  that,  as  it  was  never  meant  they  should  provide 
for  that  welfare  but  by  the  exercise  of  the  enumerated  powers, 
so  it  could  not  have  been  meant  they  should  raise  money  for  pur- 
poses which  the  enumeration  did  not  place  under  their  action  ; 
consequently,  that  the  specification  of  powers  is  a  limitation  of 
the  purposes  for  which  they  may  raise  money.  I  think  the  pas- 
sage and  rejection  of  this  bill  a  fortunate  incident.  Every  State 
will  certainly  concede  the  power  ;  and  this  will  be  a  national 
confirmation  of  the  grounds  of  appeal  to  them,  and  will  settle 
forever  the  meaning  of  this  phrase,  which,  by  a  mere  grammati- 
cal quibble,  has  countenanced  the  General  Government  in  a 
claim  of  universal  power.  For  in  the  phrase,  "  to  lay  taxes,  to 
pay  the  debts  and  provide  for  the  general  welfare,"  it  is  a  mere 
question  of  syntax,  whether  the  two  last  infinitives  are  governed 
by  the  first  or  are  distinct  and  co-ordinate  powers  ;  a  question 
unequivocally  decided  by  the  exact  definition  of  powers  imme- 
diately following.  It  is  fortunate  for  another  reason,  as  the 
States,  in  conceding  the  power,  will  modify  it,  either  by  requir- 
ing the  federal  ratio  of  expense  in  each  State,  or  otherwise,  so 
as  to  secure  us  against  its  partial  exercise.  Without  this  caution, 
intrigue,  negotiation,  and  the  barter  of  votes  might  become  as 
habitual  in  Congress,  as  they  are  in  those  legislatures  which  have 
the  appointment  of  officers,  and  which,  with  us,  is  called  "  log- 
ging," the  term  of  the  farmers  for  their  .exchanges  of  aid  in  roll- 
ing together  the  logs  of  their  newly-cleared  grounds.  Three  of 
our  papers  have  presented  us  the  copy  of  an  act  of  the  legislature 
of  New  York,  which,  if  it  has  really  passed,  will  carry  us  back 


to  the  times  of  the  darkest  bigotry  and  barbarism,  to  find  a  paral 
lei.  Its  purport  is,  that  all  those  who  shall  hereafter  join  in 
communion  \yith  the  religious  sect  of  Shaking  Q,uakers,  shall  be 
deemed  civilly  dead,  their  marriages  dissolved,  and  all  their  chil- 
dren and  property  taken  out  of  their  hands.  This  act  being  pub- 
lished nakedly  in  the  papers,  without  the  usual  signatures,  or  any 
history  of  the  circumstances  of  its  passage,  I  am  not  without  a 
hope  it  may  have  been  a  mere  abortive  attempt.  It  contrasts 
singularly  with  a  cotemporary  vote  of  the  Pennsylvania  legisla- 
ture, who,  on  a  proposition  to  make  the  belief  in  God  a  neces- 
sary qualification  for  oflice,  rejected  it  by  a  great  majority,  al- 
though assuredly  there  was  not  a  single  atheist  in  their  body. 
And  you  remember  to  have  heard,  that  when  the  act  for  religious 
freedom  was  before  the  Virginia  Assembly,  a  motion  to  insert  the 
name  of  Jesus  Christ  before  the  phrase,  "  the  author  of  our  holy 
religion,"  which  stood  in  the  bill,  was  rejected,  although  that 
was  the  creed  of  a  great  majority  of  them. 

I  have  been  charmed  to  see  that  a  Presidential  election  now 
produces  scarcely  any  agitation.  On  Mr.  Madison's  election  there 
was  little,  on  Monroe's  all  but  none.  In  Mr.  Adams'  time  and 
mine,  parties  were  so  nearly  balanced  as  to  make  the  struggle 
fearful  for  our  peace.  But  since  the  decided  ascendency  of  the 
republican  body,  federalism  has  looked  on  with  silent  but  unre- 
sisting anguish.  In  the  middle,  southern  and  western  States,  it 
is  as  low  as  it  ever  can  be  ;  for  nature  has  made  some  men  mon- 
archists and  tories  by   their  constitution,  and   some,  of  course, 

there  always  will  be. 

#*  *#  **#  ### 

We  have  had  a  remarkably  cold  winter.  At  Hallowell,  in 
Maine,  the  mercury  was  at  thirty-four  degrees  below  zero,  of 
Fahrenheit,  which  is  sixteen  degrees  lower  than  it  was  in  Paris  in 
1788-9.  Here  it  was  at  six  degrees  above  zero,  which  is  our 
greatest  degree  of  cold.  , 

Present  me  respectfully  to  Mrs.  Gallatin,  and  be  assured  of  my 
constant  and  aifectionate  friendship. 


TO    MR.    ADAMS. 

Poplar  Forest,  September  8,  1817. 

Dear  Sir, — A  month's  absence  from  Monticello  has  added  to 
the  delay  of  acknowledging  your  last  letters,  and  indeed  for  a 
month  before  I  left  it,  our  projected  college  gave  me  constant 
employment ;  for,  being  the  only  visitor  in  its  immediate  neigh- 
borhood, all  its  administrative  business  falls  on  me,  and  that, 
where  building  is  going  on,  is  not  a  little.  In  yours  of  July 
15th,  i^ou  express  a  wish  to  see  our  plan,  but  the  present  visitors 
have  sanctioned  no  plan  as  yet.  Our  predecessors,  the  first  trus- 
tees, had  desired  me  to  propose  one  to  them,  and  it  was  on  that 
occasion  I  asked  and  received  the  benefit  of  your  ideas  on  the 
subject.  Digesting  these  with  such  other  schemes  as  I  had  been 
able  to  collect,  I  made  out  a  prospectus,  the  looser  and  less  satis- 
factory from  the  uncertain  amount  of  the  funds  to  which  it  was 
to  be  adapted.  This  I  addressed,  in  the  form  of  a  letter,  to  their 
President,  Peter  Carr,  which,  going  before  the  legislature  when 
a  change  in  the  constitution  of  the  college  was  asked,  got  into 
the  public  papers,  and,  among  others,  I  think  you  will  find  it  in 
Niles'  Register,  in  the  early  part  of  1815.  This,  however,  is  to 
be  considered  but  as  a  premiere  ebauche,  for  the  consideration 
and  amendment  of  the  present  visitors,  and  to  be  accommodated 
to  one  of  two  conditions  of  things.  If  the  institution  is  to  de- 
pend on  private  donations  alone,  we  shall  be  forced  to  accumu- 
late on  the  shoulders  of  four  professors  a  mass  of  sciences  which, 
if  the  legislature  adopts  it,  should  be  distributed  among  ten.  We 
shall  be  ready  for  a  professor  of  languages  in  April  next,  for  two 
others  the  following  year,  and  a  fourth  a  year  after.  How  happy 
should  we  be  if  wc  could  have  a  Ticknor  for  our  first.  A  crit- 
ical classic  is  scarcely  to  be  found  in  the  United  States.  To  this 
professor,  a  fixed  salary  of  five  hundred  dollars,  with  liberal  tui- 
tion fees  from  the  pupils,  will  probably  give  two  thousand  dollars 
a  year.  We  are  now  on  the  look-out  for  a  professor,  meaning  to 
accept  of  none  but  of  the  very  first  order. 

You  ask  if  I  have  seen  Buchanan's,  McAfee's,  or  Wilkinson's 

VOL.  VII.  6 


books  ?  I  have  seen  none  of  them,  but  have  lately  read,  with 
great  pleasure,  Reid  &  Eaton's  life  of  Jackson,  if  life  may  be 
called  what  is  merely  a  history  of  his  campaign  of  1814.  Reid's 
part  is  well  written.  Eaton's  continuation  is  better  for  its  matter 
than  style.     The  whole,  however,  is  valuable. 

I  have  lately  received  a  pamphlet  of  extreme  interest  from 
France.  It  is  De  Pradt's  Historical  Recital  of  the  first  return  of 
Louis  XVIII.  to  Paris.  It  is  precious  for  the  minutias  of  the  pro- 
ceedings which  it  details,  and  for  their  authenticity,  as  from  an 
eye-witness.  Being  but  a  pamphlet  I  enclose  it  for  your  perusal, 
assured,  if  you  have  not  seen  it,  that  it  will  give  you  pleasure. 
I  will  ask  its  return,  because  I  value  it  as  a  morsel  of  genuine 
history,  a  thing  so  rare  as  to  be  always  valuable.  I  have  received 
some  information  from  an  eye-witness  also  of  what  passed  on  the 
occasion  of  the  second  return  of  Louis  XYIII.  The  Emperor 
Alexander,  it  seems,  was  solidly  opposed  to  this.  In  the  consul- 
tation of  the  allied  sovereigns  and  their  representatives  with  the 
executive  council  at  Paris,  he  insisted  that  the  Bourbons  were 
too  incapable  and  unworthy  of  being  placed  at  the  head  of  the 
nation  ;  declared  he  would  support  any  other  choice  they  should 
freely  make,  and  continued  to  urge  most  strenuously  that  some 
other  choice  should  be  made.  The  debates  ran  high  and  warm, 
and  broke  oif  after  midnight,  every  one  retaining  his  own  opin- 
ion. He  lodged,  as  you  know,  at  Talleyrand's.  When  thej''  re- 
turned into  council  the  next  day,  his  host  had  overcome  his  firm- 
ness. Louis  XVIII.  was  accepted,  and  through  the  management 
of  Talleyrand,  accepted  without  any  capitulation,  although  the 
sovereigns  would  have  consented  that  he  should  be  first  required 
to  subscribe  and  swear  to  the  constitution  prepared,  before  per- 
mission to  enter  the  kingdom.  It  would  seem  as  if  Talleyrand 
had  been  afraid  to  admit  the  smallest  interval  of  time,  lest  a 
change  of  mind  would  bring  back  Bonaparte  on  them.  But  I 
observe  that  the  friends  of  a  limited  monarchy  there  consider  the 
popular  representation  as  much  improved  by  the  late  alteration, 
and  confident  it  will  in  the  end  produce  a  fixed  government  in 


which  an  elective  body,  fairly  representative  of  the  people,  will 
be  an  efficient  element. 

I  congratulate  Mrs.  Adams  and  yourself  on  the  return  of  your 
excellent  and  distinguished  son,  and  our  country  still  more  on 
such  a  minister  of  their  foreign  affairs ;  and  I  renew  to  both  the 
assurance  of  my  high  and  friendly  respect  and  esteem. 


Poi'LAR  FoRRST,  September  12,  1817. 

Dear' Sir, — Your  favor  of  August  12th  was  yesterday  re- 
ceived at  this  place,  and  I  learn  from  it  with  pleasure  that  you 
have  found  a  tract  of  country  which  will  suit  you  for  settlement. 
To  us  your  first  purchase  would  have  been  more  gratifying,  by 
adding  yourself  and  your  friends  to  our  society  ;  but  the  over- 
ruling consideration,  with  us  as  with  you,  is  your  own  advantage, 
and  as  it  would  doubtless  be  a  great  comfort  to  you  to  have  your 
ancient  neighbors  and  friends  settled  around  you.  I  sincerely  wish 
that  your  proposition  to  "purchase  a  tract  of  land  in  the  Illinois 
on  favorable  terms,  for  introducing  a  colony  of  English  farm- 
ers," may  encounter  no  difficulties  from  the  established  rules  of 
our  land  department.  The  general  law  prescribes  an  open  sale, 
where  all  citizens  may  compete  on  an  equal  footing  for  any  lot 
of  land  which  attracts  their  choice.  To  dispense  with  this  in 
any  particular  case,  requires  a  special  law  of  Congress,  and  to 
special  legislation  we  are  generally  averse,  lest  a  principle  of  fa- 
vpritism  should  creep  in  and  pervert  that  of  equal  rights.  It 
has,  however,  been  done  on  some  occasions  where  a  special  na- 
tional advantage  has  been  expected  to  overweigh  that  of  adher- 
ence to  the  general  rule.  The  promised  introduction  of  the  cul- 
ture of  the  vine  procured  a  special  law  in  favor  of  the  Swiss  set- 
tlement on  the  Ohio.  That  of  the  culture  of  oil,  wine  and  other 
southern  productions,  did  the  same  lately  for  the  French  settle- 
ment on  the  Tombigbee.  It  remains  to  be  tried  whether  that 
of  an  improved  system  of  farming,  interesting  to  so  great  a  pro- 


portion  of  our  citizens,  may  not  also  be  thought  worth  a  dispen- 
sation with  the  general  rule.  This  I  suppose  is  the  principal 
iground  on  which  your  proposition  will  be  questioned.  For  al- 
though as  to  other  foreigners  it  is  thought  better  to  discourage 
their  settling  together  in  large  masses,  wherein,  as  in  our  German 
settlements,  they  preserve  for  a  long  time  their  own  languages, 
habits,  and  principles  of  government,  and  that  they  should  dis- 
tribute themselves  sparsely  among  the  natives  for  quicker  amalga- 
mation. Yet  English  emigrants  are  without  this  inconvenience. 
They  differ  from  us  little  .  but  in  their  principles  of  government, 
and  most  of  those  (merchants  excepted)  who  come  here,  are  suffi- 
ciently disposed  to  adopt  ours.  What  the  issue,  however,  of 
your  proposition  may  probably  be,  I  am  less  able  to  advise  you 
than  many  others ;  for  during  the  last  eight  or  ten  years  I  have 
no  knowledge  of  the  administration  of  the  land  office  or  the  prin- 
ciples of  its  government.  Even  the  persons  on  whom  it  will  de- 
pend are  all  changed  within  that  interval,  so  as  to  leave  me  small 
means  of  being  useful  to  you.  Whatever  they  may  be,  how- 
ever, they  shall  be  freely  exercised  for  your  advantage,  and  that, 
not  on  the  selfish  principle  of  increasing  our  own  population  at 
the  expense  of  other  nations,  for  the  additions  to  that  from  emi- 
gration are  but  as  a  drop  in  a  bucket  to  those  by  natural  procrea- 
tion, but  to  consecrate  a  sanctuary  for  those  whom  the  misrule 
of  Europe  may  compel  to  seek  happiness  in  other  climes.  This 
refuge  once  known  will  produce  reaction  on  the  happiness  even 
of  those  who  remain  there,  by  warning  their  task-masters  that 
when  the  evils  of  Egyptian  oppression  become  heavier  than  those 
of  the  abandonment  of  country,  another  Canaan  is  open  where 
their  subjects  will  be  received  as  brothers,  and  secured  against 
like  oppressions  by  a  participation  in  the  right  of  self-govern* 
ment.  If  additional  motives  could  be  wanting  with  us  to  the 
maintenance  of  this  right,  they  would  be  found  in  the  animating 
consideration  that  a  single  good  government  becomes  thus  a 
blessing  to  the  whole  earth,  its  welcome  to  the  oppressed  restrain- 
iaig  within  certain  limits  the  measure  of  their  oppressions.  But 
should  even  this  be  counteracted  by  violence  on  the  right  of  ex- 


patriation,  the  other  branch  of  our  example  then  presents  itself 
for  imitation,  to  rise  on  their  rulers  and  do  as  we  have  done. 
You  have  set  to  your  own  country  a  good  example,  by  showing 
them  a  peaceable  mode  of  reducing  their  rulers  to  the  necessity 
of  becoming  more  wise,  more  moderate,  and  more  honest,  and  I 
sincerely  pray  that  the  example  may  work  for  the  benefit  of  those 
who  cannot  follow  it,  as  it  will  for  your  own. 

With  Mr.  Burckbeck,  the  associate  of  your  late  explanatory 
journeying,  I  have  not  the  happiness  of  personal  acquaintance  ; 
but  I  know  him  through  his  narrative  of  your  journeyings  to- 
gether through  France.  The  impressions  received  from  that, 
give  me  confidence  that  a  participation  with  yourself  in  assur- 
ances of  the  esteem  and  respect  of  a  stranger  will  not  be  unac- 
ceptable to  him,  and  the  less  when  given  through  you  and  asso- 
ciated with  those  to  yourself. 


QuiNcv,  October  in,  1817. 

Dear  Sir, — I  thank  you  for  your  kind  congratulations  on  the 
return  of  my  little  family  from  Europe.  To  receive  them  all  in 
fine  health  and  good  spirits,  after  so  long  an  absence,  was  a  great- 
er blessing  than  at  my  time  of  Hfe  when  they  went  away,  I  had 
any  right  to  hope,  or  reason  to  expect. 

If  the  Secretary  of  State  can  give  satisfaction  to  his  fellow- 
citizens  in  his  new  office,  it  will  be  a  source  of  consolation  to  me 
while  I  live ;  although  it  is  not  probable  that  I  shall  long  be  a 
witness  of  his  good  success,  or  ill  success.  I  shall  soon  be  obliged 
to  say  to  him,  and  to  you,  and  to  your  country  and  mine,  God 
bless  you  all !  Fare-thee-well !  Indeed,  I  need  not  wait  a  mo- 
ment. I  can  say  all  that  now,  with  as  good  a  will,  and  as  clear 
a  conscience,  as  at  any  time  past,  or  future. 

I  thank  you,  also,  for  the  loan  of  De  Pradt's  narration  of  the 
intrigues,  at  the  second  restoration  of  the  Bourbons.  In  this,  as 
in  many  other  instances,  is  seen  the  influence  of  a  single  subtle 


mind,  and  a  trifling  accident,  in  deciding  the  fate  of  mankind  for 
iges.     De  Pradt  and  Talleyrand  were  well  associated. 

I  have  ventured  to  send  the  pamphlet  to  Washington  with  a 
charge  to  return  it  to  you.  The  French  have  a  King,  a  cham- 
ber of  Peers,  and  a  chamber  of  Deputies.  Voila  !  les  ossimens 
of  a  constitution  of  a  limited  monarchy ;  and  of  a  good  one,  pro- 
vided the  bones  are  united  by  good  joints,  and  knitted  together 
by  strong  tendons.  But  where  does  the  sovereignty  reside  ? 
Are  the  three  branches  sufficiently  defined  ?  A  fair  representa- 
tion of  the  body  of  the  people  by  elections,  sufficiently  frequent, 
is  essential  to  a  free  government ;  but  if  the  Commons  cannot 
make  themselves  respected  by  the  Peers,  and  the  King,  they  can 
do  no  good,  nor  prevent  any  evil. 

Can  any  organization  of  government  secure  public  and  private 
liberty  without  a  general  or  universal  freedom,  without  license, 
or  licentiousness  of  thinking,  speaking,  and  writing.  Have  the 
French  such  freedom  ?     Will  their  religion,  or  policy,  allow  it  ? 

When  I  think  of  liberty,  and  a  free  government,  in  an  ancient, 
opulent,  populous,  and  commercial  empire,  I  fear  I  shall  always 
recollect  a  fable  of  Plato. 

Love  is  a  son  of  the  god  of  riches,  and  the  goddess  of  poverty. 
He  inherits  from  his  father  the  intrepidity  of  his  courage,  the 
enthusiasm  of  his  thoughts,  his  generosity,  his  prodigality,  his 
confidence  in  himself,  the  opinion  of  his  own  merit,  the  impa- 
tience to  have  always  the  preference  ;  but  he  derives  from  his 
mother  that  indigence  which  makes  him  always  a  beggar ;  that 
importunity  with  which  he  demands  everything;  that  timidity 
which  sometimes  hinders  him  from  daring  to  ask  anything ;  that 
disposition  which  he  has  to  servitude,  and  that  dread  of  being 
despised,  which  he  can  never  overcome. 

Such  is  Love  according  to  Plato.  Who  calls  him  a  demon? 
And  such  is  liberty  in  France,  and  England,  and  all  other  great, 
rich,  old,  corrunted  commercial  nations.  The  opposite  qualities 
of  the  father  and  mother  are  perpetually  tearing  to  pieces  himself 
and  his  friends  as  well  as  his  enemies. 

Mr.  Monroe  has  got  the  universal  character  among  all  our  com- 


mon  people  of  "  A  very  smart  man."  And  veiily  I  am  of  the 
same  mind.  I  know  not  another  who  could  have  executed  so 
great  a  plan  so  cleverly. 

I  wish  him  the  same  happy  success  through  his  whole  admin- 

I  am,  Sir,  with  respest  and  friendship,  yours,  J.  A. 


MoNTjcELLo,  November  1,  181*7, 

Deak  Sir, — Yours  of  the  4th  of  October  was  not  received  here 
until  the  20th,  having  been  sixteen  days  on  its  passage  ;  since 
which  unavoidable  avocations  have  made  this  the  first  moment  it 
has  been  in  my  power  to  acknowledge  its  receipt.  Of  the  char- 
acter of  M.  de  Pradt  his  political  writings  famish  a  tolerable  es- 
timate, but  not  so  full  as  you  have  favored  me  with.  He  is  elo- 
quent, and  his  pamphlet  on  colonies  shows  him  ingenious.  I 
was  gratified  by  his  Recit  Historique,  because,  pretending,  as  all 
men  do,  to  some  character,  and  he  to  one  of  some  distinction,  I 
supposed  he  would  not  place  before  the  world  facts  of  glaring 
falsehood,  on  which  so  many  living  and  distinguished  witnesses 
could  convict  him.  We,  too,  who  are  retired  from  the  business 
of  the  world,  are  glad  to  catch  a  glimpse  of  truth,  here  and  there 
as  we  can,  to  guide  our  path  through  the  boundless  field  of  fable 
in  which  we  are  bewildered  by  public  prints,  and  even  by  those 
calling  themselves  histories.  A  word  of  truth  to  us  is  like  the 
drop  of  water  supplicated  from  the  tip  of  Lazarus'  finger.  It  is 
as  an  observation  of  latitude  and  longitude  to  the  mariner  long 
enveloped  in  clouds,  for  correcting  the  ship's  way. 

On  the  subject  of  weights  and  measures,  yon  will  have,  at  its 
threshold,  to  encounter  the  question  on  which  Solon  and  Ly- 
curgus  acted  difi'erently.  Shall  we  mould  our  citizens  to  the 
law,  or  the  law  to  our  citizens?  And  in  solving  this  question 
their  peculiar  character  is  an  element  not  to  be  neglected.  Of 
the  two  only  things  in  nature  which   can  furnish   an  invariable 


Standard,  to  wit,  the  dimensions  of  the  globe  itself,  and  the  time 
of  its  diurnal  revolution  on  its  axis,  it  is  not  perhaps  of  much 
importance  which  we  adopt.  That  of  the  dimensions  of  the 
globe,  prefeiTed  ultimately  by  the  French,  after  first  adopting  the 
other,  has  been  objected  to  from  the  difficulty,  not  to  say  imprac- 
ticability, of  the  verification  of  their  admeasurement  by  other  na- 
tions. Except  the  portion  of  a  meridian  which  they  adopted  for 
their  operation,  there  is  not  another  on  the  globe  which  fulfils  the 
requisite  conditions,  to  wit,  of  so  considerable  length,  that  length 
too  divided,  not  very  unequally,  by  the  4.5th  degree  of  latitude, 
and  terminating  at  each  end  in  the  ocean.  Now,  this  singular 
line  lies  wholly  in  France  and  Spain.  Besides  the  immensity 
of  expense  and  time  which  a  verification  would  always  require, 
it  cannot  be  undertaken  by  any  nation  without  the  joint  consent 
of  these  two  powers.  France  having  once  performed  the  work 
and  refusing,  as  she  may,  to  let  any  other  nation  re-examine  it, 
she  makes  herself  the  sole  depository  of  the  original  standard  foi 
all  nations ;  and  all  must  send  to  her  to  obtain,  and  from  time  tc 
time  to  prove  their  standards.  To  this,  indeed,  it  may  be  an- 
swered, that  there  can  be  no  reason  to  doubt  that  the  mensuration 
has  been  as  accurately  performed  as  the  intervention  of  numerous 
waters,  and  of  high  ridges  of  craggy  mountains,  would  admit ; 
that  all  the  calculations  have  been  free  of  error,  their  coincidences 
faithfully  reported,  and  that,  whether  in  peace  or  war,  to  foes  as 
well  as  friends,  free  access  to  the  original  will  at  all  times  be  ad- 
mitted. In  favor  of  the  standard  to  be  taken  from  the  time  em-' 
ployed  in  a  revolution  of  the  earth  on  its  axis,  it  may  be  urged 
that  this  revolution  is  a  matter  of  fact  present  to  all  the  world, 
that  its  division  into  seconds  of  time  is  known  and  received  by 
all  the  world,  that  the  length  of  a  pendulum  vibrating  seconds 
ill  the  different  circles  of  latitude  is  already  known  to  all,  and 
cau  at  any  time  nid  in  any  place  be  ascertained  by  any  nation 
or  individual,  and  mferred  by  known  laws  from  their  own  to  the 
medium  latitude  of  45°,  whenever  any  doubt  may  make  this  de- 
sirable ;  and  that  this  is  the  particular  standard  which  has  at  dif- 


ferent  times  been  contemplated  and  desn-ed*  by  the  philosophers 
of  every  nation,  and  even  by  those  of  France,  except  at  the  par- 
ticular moment  when  this  change  was  suddenly  proposed  and 
adopted,  and  under  circumstances  peculiar  to  the  history  of  the 
moment.  But  the  cogent  reason  which  will  decide  the  fate  of 
whatever  you  report  is,  that  England  has  lately  adopted  the  ref- 
erence of  its  measures  to  the  pendulum.  It  is  the  mercantile 
part  of  our  community  which  will  have  most  to  do  in  this  inno- 
vation ;  it  is  that  which  having  command  of  all  the  presses  can 
make  the  loudest  outcry,  and  you  know  their  identification  with 
English  regulations,  practices,  and  prejudices.  It  is  from  this 
identification  alone  you  can  hope  to  be  permitted  to  adopt  even 
the  English  reference  to  a  pendulum.  But  the  English  propo- 
sition goes  only  to  say  what  proportion  their  measures  bear  to 
the  second  pendulum  of  their  own  latitude,  and  not  at  all  to 
change  their  unit,  or  to  reduce  into  any  simple  order  the  chaos 
of  their  weights  and  measures.  That  would  be  innovation,  and 
innovation  there  is  heresy  and  treason.  Whether  the  Senate 
meant  more  than  this  I  do  not  know ;  and  much  doubt  if  more 
can  he  effected.  However,  in  endeavors  to  improve  our  situa- 
tion, we  should  never  despair  ;  and  I  sincerely  wish  you  may  be 
able  to  rally  us  to  either  standard,  and  to  give  us  an  unit,  the 
aliquot  part  of  something  invariable  which  may  be  applied  simply 
and  conveniently  to  our  measures,  weights,  and  coins,  and  most 
especially  that  the  decimal  divisions  may  pervade  the  whole. 
The  convenience  of  this  in  our  monied  system  has  been  approved 
by  all,  and  France  has  followed  the  example.  The  volume  of 
tracts  which  you  have  noted  in  the  library  of  Congress,  contains 
everything  which  I  had  then  been  able  to  collect  on  this  subject. 
You  will  find  some  details  which  may  be  of  use  in  two  thin 
4to  vols.,  Nos.  399,  400,  of  chapter  xxiv.  ;  the  latter  being  a  col- 
lection of  sheets  selected  from  the  ''  Encyclopedic  Meihodique," 

*  If  conforming  to  this  desire  of  other  nations,  we  adopt  the  second  pendulum, 
^\  of  that  for  our  foot  will  be  the  same  as  !  or  j%  of  the  second  rod,  because  that 
rod  is  to  the  pendulum  as  3  to  2.  This  would  make  our  foot  i  inch  less  than  the 
oreaent  one. 


on  Lhe  weights,  measures  and  coins  of  all  nations,  bound  up  to- 
gether and  alone  ;  and  the  former  a  supplement  by  Beyerle. 
Cooper's  Emporium  too,  for  May  1812,  and  August  1813,  may 
offer  something.  The  reports  of  the  Committees  of  Parliament 
of  1758-9,  I  think  you  will  find  in  Postlethwaite's  Dictionary, 
which  is  also  in  the  library,  chapter  20,  No.  10.  That  of  Mechain 
and  Delambre  I  have  not,  nor  do  I  know  who  has  it. 

I  have  lately  seen  a  book  which  your  office  ought  to  possess, 
if  it  has  it  not  already,  entitled  "  Memoir e  sur  la  Louisiana, 
par  M.  le  Comte  de  Vergennes,  8vo,  Paris,  chez  Lepetit,  Jeune, 
1802."  It  contains  more  in  detail  the  proofs  of  the  extent  of 
Louisiana  as  far  as  the  Rio  Grande  than  I  have  ever  before  seen, 
and  its  author  gives  it  authenticity.  It  has  been  executed  with 
great  industry  and  research  into  the  French  records.  This  re- 
minds me  of  a  MS.  which  Governor  Claiborne  found  in  a  private 
family  in  Louisiana,  being  a  journal  kept  (I  forget  by  whom, 
but)  by  a  confidential  oflicer  of  the  government,  proving  exactly 
by  what  connivance  between  the  agents  of  the  compagnie  (F  ac- 
cident and  the  Spaniards  these  last  smuggled  settlements  into 
Louisiana  as  far  as  Assinais,  Adais,  &c..  for  the  purpose  of  cov- 
ering the  contraband  trade  of  the  company.  Claiborne  being 
afraid  to  trust  the  original  by  mail  without  keeping  a  copy,  sent 
it  on.  It  arrived  safe,  and  was  deposited  in  the  office  of  State. 
He  then  sent  me  the  copy  on  the  destruction  of  the  office  at 
Washington  by  the  British,  apprehending  the  original  might  be 
involved  in  that  destruction.  I  sent  the  copy  to  Colonel  Monroe, 
then  Secretary  of  State,  with  a  request  to  return  it  if  the  original 
was  safe,  and  to  keep  it  if  not.  I  have  heard  no  more  of  it  ;  but 
will  now  request  of  you  to  have  search  made  for  the  original,  and 
if  safe,  to  return  me  the  copy.  I  propose  to  deposit  it  with  the 
historical  committee  of  the  Philosophical  Society  at  Philadelphia, 
for  safe  keeping.  I  have  no  use  nor  wish  for  such  a  thing  my- 
sef,  but  think  it  will  be  safer  in  two  deposits  than  one.  My  rec- 
ommendation to  Colonel  Monroe,  was  to  have  it  printed.  I 
have  barely  left  myself  room  to  express  my  satisfaction  at  your 
call  to  the  important  office  you  hold,  and  to  tender  you  the  as- 
iirance  of  my  great  esteem  and  respect. 



Mo^TIOKLL(l,  November  7,  1817. 

Dear  Sib, — A  part  of  the  information  of  which  the  expe- 
dition of  Lewis  and  Clarke  was  the  object,  has  been  communi- 
cated to  the  world  by  the  publication  of  their  journal ;  but  much 
and  valuable  matter  yet  remains  uncommunicated.  The  cor- 
rection of  the  longitudes  of  their  map  is  essential  to  its  value  ; 
to  which  purpose  their  observations  of  the  lunar  distances  are 
to  be  calculated  and  applied.  The  new  subjects  they  discov- 
ered in  the  vegetable,  animal,  and  mineral  departments,  are  to 
be  digested  and  made  known.  The  numerous  vocabularies  they 
obtained  of  the  Indian  languages  are  to  be  collated  and  published. 
Although  the  whole  expense  of  the  expedition  was  furnished  by 
the  public,  and  the  information  to  be  derived  from  it  was  theirs 
also,  yet  on  the  return  of  Messrs.  Lewis  and  Clarke,  the  govern- 
ment thought  it  just  to  leave  to  them  any  pecuniary  benefit 
which  might  result  from  a  publication  of  the  papers,  and  sup- 
posed, indeed,  that  this  would  secure  the  best  form  of  publica- 
tion. But  the  property  in  these  papers  still  remained  in  the  gov- 
ernment for  the  benefit  of  their  constituents.  With  the  measures 
taken  by  Governor  Lewis  for  their  publication,  I  was  never  ac- 
quainted. After  his  death.  Governor  Clarke  put  them,  in  the  first 
instance,  into  the  hands  of  the  late  Doctor  Barton,  from  whom  some 
of  them  passed  to  Mr.  Biddle,  and  some  again,  I  believe,  from  him 
to  Mr.  Allen.  While  the  MS.  books  of  journals  were  in  the  hands 
of  Dr.  Barton,  I  wrote  to  him,  on  behalf  of  Governor  Lewis' 
family,  requesting  earnestly,  that,  as  soon  as  these  should  be  pub- 
lished, the  originals  might  be  returned,  as  the  family  wished  to  have 
them  preserved.  He  promised  in  his  answer  that  it  should  be 
faithfully  done.  After  his  death,  I  obtained,  through  the  kind 
agency  of  Mr.  Correa,  from  Mrs.  Barton,  three  of  those  books,  of 
which  I  knew  there  had  been  ten  or  twelve,  having  myself  read 
them.  These  were  all  she  cotdd  find.  The  rest,  therefore,  I 
presume,  are  in  the  hands  of  the  other  gentlemen.  After  the 
agency  I  had  had  in  effecting  this  expedition,  I  thought  myself 


authorized,  and,  indeed,  that  it  would  he  expected  of  me,  that  I 
should  follow  up  the  subject,  and  endeavor  to  obtain  its  fruits  foi 
the  public.  I  wrote  to  General  Clarke,  therefore,  for  authority 
to  receive  the  original  papers.  He  gave  it  in  the  letters  to  Mr. 
Biddle  and  to  myself,  which  I  now  enclose.  As  the  custody  of 
these  papers  belonged  properly  to  the  War-Office,  and  that  was 
vacant  at  the  time,  I  have  waited  several  months  for  its  being 
filled.  But  the  office  still  remaining  vacant,  and  my  distance 
rendering  any  effectual  measures,  by  myself,  impracticable,  I  ask 
the  agency  of  your  committee,  within  whose  province  I  propose 
to  place  the  matter,  by  making  it  the  depository  of  the  paj)ers  gen- 
erally. I  therefore  now  forward  the  three  volumes  of  MS.  jour- 
nals in  my  possession,  and  authorize  them,  under  General 
Clarke's  letters,  to  inquire  for  and  to  receive  the  rest.  So  also 
the  astronomical  and  geographical  papers,  those  relating  to  zoo- 
logical, botanical,  and  mineral  subjects,  with  the  Indian  vocabu- 
laries, and  statistical  tables  relative  to  the  Indians.  Of  the  as- 
tronomical and  geographical  papers,  if  the  committee  will  be  so 
good  as  to  give  me  a  statement,  I  will,  as  soon  as  a  Secretary  at 
War  is  appointed,  propose  to  him  to  have  made,  at  the  public 
expense,  the  requisite  calculations,  to  have  the  map  corrected  in 
its  longitudes  and  latitudes,  engraved  and  published  on  a  proper 
scale  ;  and  I  will  ask  from  General  Clarke  the  one  he  offers,  with 
his  corrections.  With  respect  to  the  zoological  and  mineralogical 
papers  and  subjects,  it  would  perhaps  be  agreeable  to  the  Philo- 
sophical Society,  to  have  a  digest  of  them  made,  and  published 
in  their  transactions  or  otherwise.  And  if  it  should  be  within 
the  views  of  the  historical  committee  to  have  the  Indian  vocab- 
ularies digested  and  published,  I  would  add  to  them  the  remains 
of  my  collection.  I  had  through  the  course  of  my  life  availed 
myself  of  every  opportunity  of  procuring  vocabularies  of  the 
languages  of  every  tribe  which  either  myself  or  my  friends 
could  have  access  to.  They  amounted  to  about  forty,  more  or 
less  perfect.  But  in  th'^ir  passage  from  Washington  to  this  pkce, 
the  trunk  in  which  they  were  was  stolen  and  plundered,  and 
some  fragments  only  of  the  vocabularies  were  recovered.     Still,. 


however,  they  were  such  as  would  be  worth  incorporation  with 
a  larger  work,  and  shall  be  at  the  service  of  the  historical  com- 
mittee, if  they  can  make  any  use  of  them.  Permit  me  to  request 
the  return  of  General  Clarke's  letter,  and  to  add  assurances  of 
my  respect  and  esteem. 

P  S.  With  the  volumes  of  MS.  journal,  Mrs.  Barton  delivered 
one  by  mistake  I  suppose,  which  seems  to  have  been  the  journal 
of  some  botanist.  I  presume  it  was  the  property  of  Dr.  Barton, 
and  therefore  forward  it  to  you  to  be  returned  to  Mrs.  Barton. 

TO    MR.    COKREA. 

Poplar  Forest,  November  25,  1817. 

Dear  Sir, — I  am  highly  gratified  by  the  interest  you  take  in 
our  Central  College,  and  the  more  so  as  it  may  possibly  be- 
come an  inducement  to  pass  more  of  your  time  with  us.  It  is 
even  said  you  had  thought  of  engaging  a  house  in  its  neighbor- 
hood. But  why  another  house  ?  Is  not  one  enough  ?  and  es- 
pecially one  whose  inhabitants  are  made  so  happy  by  your  be- 
coming their  inmate  ?  When  you  shall  have  a  wife  and  family 
wishing  to  be  to  themselves,  then  the  question  of  another  house 
may  be  taken  ad  referendum.  I  wish  Dr.  Cooper  could  have 
the  same  partialities.  He  seems  to  have  misunderstood  my  last 
letter ;  in  the  former  I  had  spoken  of  opening  our  Physical  School 
in  the  spring  of  '19,  but  learning  that  that  delay  might  render 
his  engagement  uncertain,  the  visitors  determined  to  force  their 
preparations  so  as  to  receive  him  by  midsummer  next,  and  so  my 
letter  stated.  In  one  I  now  write,  I  recall  his  attention  to  that 
circumstance.  But  his  decision  will  no  doubt  be  governed  by 
the  result  of  the  proposition,  to  permit  the  medical  students  of 
Philadelphia  to  attend  him.  I  can  never  regret  any  circumstance 
which  may  add  to  his  well-being,  for  I  most  sincerely  wish  him 
well.  That  himself  and  Mrs.  Cooper  will  be  happier  in  the  so- 
ciety of  Philadelphia,  cannot  be  doubted.     It  would  be  flattering 


enough  to  ns  to  be  his  second  choice.  I  find  from  his  informa- 
tion that  we  are  not  to  expect  to  obtain  in  this  country  either  a 
classical  or  mathematical  professor  of  the  first  order ;  and  as  our 
institution  cannot  be  raised  above  the  common  herd  of  academies, 
colleges,  (fcc,  already  scattered  over  our  country,  but  by  super- 
eminent  professors,  we  have  determined  to  accept  of  no  medioc- 
rity, and  to  seek  in  Europe  for  what  is  eminent.  We  shall  go 
to  Edinburgh  in  preference,  because  of  the  advantage  to  students 
of  receiving  communications  in  their  native  tongue,  and  because 
peculiar  and  personal  circumstances  will  enable  us  to  interest 
Dugald  Stewart  and  Professor  Leslie,  of  that  College,  in  procur- 
ing us  subjects  of  real  worth  and  eminence.  I  put  off  writing  to 
them  for  a  classical  and  mathematical  professor  only  until  I  see 
what  our  legislature,  which  meets  on  Monday  next,  is  disposed 
to  do,  either  on  the  question  singly  of  adopting  our  college  for 
their  university,  or  on  that  of  entering  at  once  on  a  general  sys- 
tem of  instruction,  for  which  they  have  for  some  time  been  pre- 
paring. For  this  last  purpose  I  have  sketched,  and  put  into  the 
hands  of  a  member  a  bill,  delineating  a  practicable  plan,  entirely 
within  the  means  they  already  have  on  hand,  destined  to  this  object. 
My  bill  proposes,  1.  Elementary  schools  in  every  county,  which 
shall  place  every  householder  within  three  miles  of  a  school.  2. 
District  colleges,  which  shall  place  every  father  within  a  day's 
ride  of  a  college  where  he  may  dispose  of  his  son.  3.  An  uni- 
versity in  a  healthy  and  central  situation,  with  the  offer  of  the 
lands,  buildings,  and  funds  of  the  Central  College,  if  they  will 
accept  that  place  for  their  establishment.  In  the  1st  will  be 
taught  reading,  writing,  common  arithmetic,  and  general  notions 
of  geography.  In  the  2d,  ancient  and  modern  languages, 
geography  fully,  a  higher  degree  of  numerical  arithmetic,  men- 
suration, and  the  elementary  principles  of  navigation.  In  the 
3d,  all  the  useful  sciences  in  their  highest  degree.  To  all  of 
which  is  added  a  selection  from  the  elementary  schools  of  sub- 
jects of  the  most  promising  genius,  whose  parents  are  too  poor 
to  give  them  further  education,  to  be  carried  at  the  public  ex- 
pense through  the  colleges  and  university.     The  object  is  tc 


bring  into  action  that  mass  of  talents  which  lies  buried  in  poverty 
in  every  country,  for  want  of  the  means  of  development,  and 
thus  give  activity  to  a  mass  of  mind,  which,  in  proportion  to  our 
population,  shall  be  the  double  or  treble  of  what  it  is  in  most 
countries.  The  expense  of  the  elementary  schools  for  every 
county,  is  proposed  to  be  levied  on  the  wealth  of  the  county,  and 
all  children  rich  and  poor  to  be  educated  at  these  three  years 
gratis.  The  expense  of  the  colleges  and  university,  admitting 
two  professors  to  each  of  the  former,  and  ten  to  the  latter,  can  be 
completely  and  permanently  established  with  a  sum  of  five  hun- 
dred thousand  dollars,  in  addition  to  the  present  funds  of  our 
Central  College.  Our  literary  fund  has  already  on  hand,  and  ap- 
propriated to  these  purposes,  a  sum  of  seven  hundred  thousand 
dollars,  and  that  increasing  yearly.  This  is  in  fact  and  substance 
the  plan  I  proposed  in  a  bill  forty  years  ago,  but  accommodated 
to  the  circumstances  of  this,  instead  of  that  day.  I  derive  my 
present  hopes  that  it  may  now  be  adopted,  from  the  fact  that  the 
House  of  Representatives,  at  their  last  session,  passed  a  bill,  less 
practicable  and  boundlessly  expensive,  and  therefore  alone  re- 
jected by  the  Senate,  and  printed  for  public  consideration  and 
amendment.  Mine,  after  all,  may  be  an  Utopian  dream,  but 
being  innocent,  I  have  thought  I  might  indulge  in  it  till  I  go  to 
the  land  of  dreams,  and  sleep  there  with  the  dreamers  of  all  past 
and  future  times. 

I  have  taken  measm-es  to  obtain  the  crested  turkey,  and  Avill 
endeavor  to  perpetuate  that  beautiful  and  singular  characteristic, 
and  shall  be  not  less  earnest  in  endeavors  to  raise  the  Moronnier. 
God  bless  you,  and  j)reserve  you  long  in  life  and  health,  until 
wearied  with  delighting  your  kindred  spirits  here,  you  may  wish 
to  encounter  the  great  problem,  untried  by  the  hving,  unreported 
by  the  dead. 



MoNTiCKLio,  December.  30,  1817. 

Dear  Sir, — An  absence  of  six  weeks  has  occasioned  joui 
letters  of  the  5th  and  11th  inst.,  to  lie  thus  long  unacknowl- 
edged. After  I  had  sent  off  the  two  other  Westover  MSS.  I  re- 
ceived a  third  of  the  same  journal.  On  perusing  it  I  am  not  sen- 
sible by  memory,  of  anything  not  contained  in  the  former,  ex- 
cept eight  pages  of  a  preliminary  account  of  the  abridgment  of 
our  limits  by  successive  charters  to  other  colonies.  I  suppose 
this  to  be  a  copy  of  the  largest  of  the  other  two,  entered  fair  in 
a  folio  volume,  with  other  documents  relating  to  the  government 
of  Virginia.  It  is  bound  in  vellum,  and,  by  the  arms  pasted  iu 
it,  seems  to  have  been  mtended  for  the  shelves  of  the  author's 
library.  As  this  journal  is  complete  it  might  enable  lis  to  sup- 
ply the  hiatuses  of  the  other  copies. 

I  now  send  you  the  remains  of  my  Indian  vocabularies,  some 
of  which  are  perfect.  I  send  with  them  the  fragments  of  my 
digest  of  them,  which  were  gathered  up  on  the  banks  of  the 
river  where  they  had  been  strewed  by  the  plunderers  of  the 
trunk  in  which  they  were.  These  will  merely  show  the  arrange- 
ment I  had  given  the  vocabularies,  according  to  their  affinities 
and  degrees  of  resemblance  or  dissimilitude. 

If  you  can  recover  Capt.  Lewis'  collection,  they  will  make 
an  important  addition,  for  there  was  no  part  of  his  instructions 
which  he  executed  more  fully  or  carefully,  never  meeting  with 
a  single  Indian  of  a  new  tribe,  without  making  his  vocabulary 
the  first  object.  What  Professor  Adelung  mentions  of  the  Em- 
press Catharine's  having  procured  many  vocabularies  of  our  In- 
dians, is  correct.  She  applied  to  M.  de  La  Fayette,  who,  through 
the  aid  of  General  Washington,  obtained  several ;  but  I  never 
learnt  of  what  particular  tribes.  The  great  works  of  Pallas  being 
rare,  I  will  mention  that  there  are  two  editions  of  it,  the  one  in 
two  volumes,  the  other  in  four  volumes  4lo,  :.i  the  library  I 
ceded  to  Congress,  which  may  be  consulted.  But  the  Professor's 
account  of  the  supposed  Mexican  MS.  is  quite  erroneous,  nor  cai. 

OORRESPOi^DEiilOJ!,.  97 

1  conceive  through  whom  he  can  have  receivea  lus  mlormation. 
It  has  probably  been  founded  on  an  imperfect  knowledge  of  the 
following  fact :  Soon  after  the  acquisition  of  Louisiana,  Gover- 
nor Claiborne  foimd,  in  a  private  family  there,  a  MS.  journal 
kept,  (I  forget  by  whom,)  but  by  a  confidential  officer  of  the 
French  government,  proving  exactly  by  what  connivance  be- 
tween the  agents  of  the  compagnie  d'occident,  and  the  Span- 
iards, these  last  smuggled  settlements  into  Louisiana,  as  far  as 
Assinais,  Adais,  (fcc,  for  the  purpose  of  covering  the  contraband 
trade  of  the  company.  Claiborne,  being  afraid  to  tru&t  the  origi- 
nal by  mail,  without  keeping  a  copy,  sent  it  on  after  being  copied. 
It  an-ived  safe,  and  was  deposited  by  me  in  the  office  of  State. 
He  then  sent  me  the  copy,  on  the  destruction  of  the  office  at 
Washington  by  the  British  ;  apprehending  the  original  might  be 
involved  in  that  destruction,  I  sent  the  copy  to  Colonel  Monroe, 
then  Secretary  of  State,  with  a  request  to  return  it,  if  the  origi- 
nal was  safe,  and  to  keep  it,  if  not.  I  have  heard  no  more  of 
it.  My  intention  was,  and  is,  if  it  is  returned  to  me,  to  deposit 
it  with  your  committee  for  safe  keeping  or  publication.  While 
on  the  subject  of  Louisiana,  I  have  thought  I  had  better  commit 
to  you  also  an  historical  memoir  of  my  own  respecting  the  im- 
portant question  of  its  limits.  When  we  first  made  the  purchase 
we  knew  little  of  its  extent,  having  never  before  been  interested 
to  inquire  into  it.  Possessing,  then,  in  my  library,  everything 
respecting  America  which  I  had  been  able  to  collect  by  unre- 
mitting researches,  during  my  residence  in  Europe,  particularly 
and  generally  through  my  life,  I  availed  myself  of  the  leisure  of 
my  succeeding  autumnal  recess  from  Washington,  to  bring  togeth- 
er everything  which  my  collection  furnished  on  the  subject  of 
its  boundary.  The  result  was  the  memoir  I  now  send  you, 
copies  of  which  were  furnished  to  our  ministers  at  Paris  and  Mad- 
rid, for  their  information  as  to  the  extent  of  territory  claimed  un- 
der our  purchase.  The  New  Orleans  MS.  afterwards  discovered, 
(iirnished  some  valuable  supplementary  proofs  of  title. 

I  defer  writing  to  the  Secretary  at  War  respecting  the  observa- 
tions of  longitude  and  latitude  by  Capt.  Lewis,  until  I  learn  from 


you  whetlier  tbey  are  recovered,  and  whether  they  are  so  com- 
plete as  to  be  susceptilDle  of  satisfactory  calculation.  I  salute 
you  with-  great  respect  and  esteem.  / 

TO  MR.  Wirt. 

'  MoNxrcKLLO,  January  5,  1818. 

I  have  first  to  thank  you,  dear  Sir,  for  the  copy  of  your  late 
work  which  you  have  been  so  kind  as  to  send  me,  and  then  to 
render  you  double  congratulations,  first,  on  the  general  applause 
it  has  so  justly  received,  and  next  on  the  public  testimony  of 
esteem  for  its  author,  manifested  by  your  late  call  to  the  execu- 
tive councils  of  the  nation.  All  this  I  do  heartily,  and  then  pro- 
ceed to  a  case  of  business  on  which  you  will  have  to  advise  the 
government  on  the  threshold  of  your  office.  You  have  seen  the 
death  of  General  Kosciusko  announced  in  the  papers  in  such  a 
way  as  not  to  be  doubted.  He  had  in  the  funds  of  the  United 
States  a  very  considerable  sum  of  money,  on  the  interest  of 
which  he  depended  for  subsistence.  On  his  leaving  the  United 
States,  in  1798,  he  placed  it  under  my  direction  by  a  power  of 
attorney,  which  I  executed  entirely  through  Mr.  Barnes,  who 
regularly  remitted  his  interest.  But  he  left  also  in  my  hands  an 
autograph  will,  disposing  of  his  funds  in  a  particular  course  of 
charity,  and  making  me  his  executor.  The  question  the  govern- 
ment will  ask  of  you,  and  which  I  therefore  ask,  is  in  what  court 
must  this  will  be  proved,  and  my  qualification  as  executor  be  re- 
ceived, to  justify  the  United  States  in  placing  these  funds  under 
the  trust  ?  This  is  to  be  executed  wholly  in  this  State,  and  will 
occupy  so  long  a  course  of  time  beyond  what  I  can  expect  to 
live,  that  I  think  to  propose  to  place  it  under  the  Court  of  Chan- 
cery. The  place  of  probate  generally  follows  the  lesidence  of 
the  testator.  That  was  in  a  foreign  country  in  the  present  case. 
Sometimes  the  bona  notabilia.  The  evidences  or  representations 
of  these  (the  certificates)  are  in  my  hands.  The  things  repre- 
sented  (the  money)  in  those  of  the  United  States.     But  where 


are  the  United  States  ?  Everywhere,  I  suppose,  where  they  have 
government  or  property  Hable  to  the  demand  on  payment.  That 
is  to  say,  in  every  State  of  the  Union,  in  this,  for  example,  as 
well  as  any  other,  strengthened  by  the  circumstances  of  the  de- 
posit of  the  will,  the  residence  of  the  executor,  and  the  place 
where  the  trust  is  to  be  executed.  In  no  instance,  I  believe, 
does  the  mere  habitation  of  the  debtor  draw  to  it  the  place  of 
probate,  and  if  it  did,  the  United  States  are  omnipresent  by  their 
functionaries,  as  well  as  property  in  every  State  of  the  Union.  I 
am  led  by  these  considerations  to  suppose  our  district  or  general 
court  competent  to  the  object ;  but  you  know  best,  and  by  your 
advice,  sanctioned  by  the  Secretary  of  the  Treasury,  I  shall  act. 
I  write  to  the  Secretary  on  this  subject.  If  our  district  court  will 
do,  I  can  attend  it  personally  ;  if  the  general  court  only  be  com- 
petent, I  am  in  hopes  it  will  find  means  of  dispensing  with  my 
personal  attendance.  I  salute  you  with  affectionate  esteem  and 


MoNTiCELLO,  March  3,  1818. 

Dear  Sir, — I  have  just  received  your  favor  of  February  20th, 
in  which  you  observe  that  Mr.  Wirt,  on  page  47  of  his  Life  of 
Patrick  Henry,  quotes  me  as  saying  that  "  Mr.  Henry  certainly 
gave  the  first  impulse  to  the  ball  of  revolution."  I  well  recollect 
to  have  used  some  such  expression  in  a  letter  to  him,  and  am  tol- 
erably certain  that  our  own  State  being  the  subject  under  contem- 
plation, I  must  have  used  it  with  respect  to  that  only.  Whether 
he  has  given  it  a  more  general  aspect  I  cannot  say,  as  the  pas- 
sage is  not  in  the  page  you  quote,  nor,  after  thumbing  over  much 
of  the  book,  have  I  been  able  to  find  it.*  In  page  417  there  is 
something  like  it,  but  not  the  exact  expression,  and  even  there  it 
may  be  doubted  whether  Mr.  Wirt  had  his  eye  on  Virginia  alone, 
or  on  all  the  colonies.  But  the  question,  who  commenced  tha 
revolution  ?  is  as  difRcult  as  that  of  the  first  inventors  of  a  thou- 

[*  It  was  found  page  41.] 


sand  good  things.  For  example,  who  first  discovered  the  prin- 
ciple of  gravity  ?  Not  Newton  ;  for  Galileo,  who  died  the  year 
that  Newton  was  born,  had  measured  its  force  in  the  descent  of 
gravid  bodies.  Who  invented  the  Lavoiserian  chemistry  ?  The 
English  say  Dr.  Black,  by  the  preparatory  discovery  of  latent 
heat.  Who  mvented  the  steamboat  ?  Was  it  Gerbert,  the  Mar- 
quis of  Worcester,  Newcomen,  Savary,  Papin,  Pitch,  Fulton  ? 
The  fact  is,  that  one  new  idea  leads  to  another,  that  to  a  third, 
and  so  on  through  a  course  of  time  until  some  one,  with  whom 
no  one  of  these  ideas  was  original,  combines  all  together,  and 
produces  what  is  justly  called  a  new  invention.  I  suppose  it 
would  be  as  difficult  to  trace  our  revolution  to  its  first  embryo. 
We  do  not  know  how  long  it  was  hatching  in  the  British  cabinet 
before  they  ventured  to  make  the  first  of  the  experiments  which 
were  to  develop  it  in  the  end  and  to  produce  complete  parliament- 
ary supremacy.  Those  you  mention  in  Massachusetts  as  preced- 
ing the  stamp  act,  might  be  the  first  visible  symptoms  of  that  de- 
sign. The  proposition  of  that  act  in  1764,  was  the  first  here. 
Your  opposition,  therefore,  preceded  ours,  as  occasion  was  sooner 
given  there  than  here,  and  the  truth,  I  suppose,  is,  that  the  oppo- 
sition in  every  colony  began  whenever  the  encroachment  was 
presented  to  it.  This  question  of  priority  is  as  the  inquiry  would 
be  who  first,  of  the  three  hundred  Spartans,  offered  his  name  to 
Leonidas  ?  I  shall  be  happy  to  see  justice  done  to  the  merits  of 
all,  by  the  unexceptionable  umpirage  of  date  and  facts,  and  es- 
pecially from  the  pen  which  is  proposed  to  he  employed  in  it. 

I  rejoice,  indeed,  to  learn  from  you  that  Mr.  Adams  retains  the 
strength  of  his  memory,  his  faculties,  his  cheerfulness,  and  even 
his  epistolary  industry.  This  last  is  gone  from  me.  The  aver- 
sion has  been  growing  on  me  for  a  considerable  time,  and  now, 
near  the  close  of  seventy-five,  is  become  almost  insuperable.  I 
am  much  debilitated  in  body,  and  my  memory  sensibly  on  the 
wane.  Still,  however,  I  enjoy  good  health  and  spirits,  and  am 
as  industrious  a  reader  as  when  a  student  at  college.  Not  of 
newspapers.  These  I  have  discarded.  I  relinquish,  as  I  ought 
to  do,  all  intermeddling  with  public  affairs,  committing  myself 


cheerfully  to  the  watch  and  care  of  those  for  whom,  in  my  turn 
T  have  watched  and  cared.  When  I  contemplate  the  immenst 
advances  in  science  and  discoveries  in  the  arts  which  have  been 
made  within  the  period  of  my  life,  I  look  forward  with  con- 
fidence to  equal  advances  by  the  present  generation,  and  have  no 
doubt  they  will  consequently  be  as  much  wiser  than  we  have 
been  as  we  than  our  fathers  were,  and  they  than  the  burners  of 
•witches.  Even  the  metaphysical  contest,  ^vhich  you  so  pleas- 
antly described  to  me  in  a  former  letter,  will  probably  end  in  im- 
provement, by  clearing  the  mind  of  Platonic  mysticism  and  un- 
intelligible jargon.  Although  age  is  taking  from  me  the  power 
of  communicating  by  letter  with  my  friends  as  industriously  as 
heretofore,  I  shall  still  claim  with  them  the  same  place  they  wil' 
ever  hold  iiT  my  affections,  and  on  this  ground  I,  with  sincerity 
and  pleasure,  assm-e  you  of  my  great  esteem  and  respect. 

TO    N.    BURWELL,  ESQ. 

MoNTiCELLO,  March  14,  1818. 

Dear  Sib, — Your  letter  of  February  17th  found  me  suffering 
under  an  attack  of  rheumatism,  which  has  but  now  left  me  at 
sufficient  ease  to  attend  to  the  letters  I  have  received.  A  plan 
of  female  education  has  never  been  a  subject  of  systematic  con- 
templation with  me.  It  has  occupied  my  attention  so  far  only  as 
the  education  of  my  own  daughters  occasionally  required.  Con- 
sidering that  they  would  be  placed  in  a  country  situation,  where 
little  aid  could  be  obtained  from  abroad,  I  thought  it  essential  tc 
give  them  a  solid  education,  which  might  enable  them,  when  be- 
come mothers,  to  educate  their  own  daughters,  and  even  to  di- 
rect the  course  for  sons,  should  their  fathers  be  lost,  or  incapable, 
or  inattentive.  My  surviving  daughter  accordingly,  the  mother 
of  many  daughters  as  well  as  sons,  has  made  their  education  the 
object  of  her  life,  and  being  a  better  judge  of  the  practical  part 
than  myself,  it  is  with  her  aid  and  that  of  one  of  her  eleves,  that 

102  JEFFEPw  SON'S    WORKS. 

I  shall  subjoin  a  catalogue  of  the  boolis  for  such  a  course  of  read- 
ing as  we  have  practiced. 

A  great  obstacle  to  good  education  is  the  inordinate  passion 
prevalent  for  novels,  and  the  time  lost  in  that  reading  which 
should  be  instructively  employed.  When  this  poison  infects  the 
mind,  it  destroys  its  tone  and  revolts  it  against  wholesome  read- 
ing. Reason  and  fact,  plain  and  unadorned,  are  rejected.  No- 
thing can  engage  attention  unless  dressed  in  all  the  figments  of 
fancy,  and  nothing  so  bedecked  comes  amiss.  The  result  is  a 
bloated  imagination,  sickly  judgment,  and  disgust  towards  all 
the  real  businesses  of  life.  This  mass  of  trash,  however,  is  not 
Nvithout  some  distinction  ;  some  few  modelling  their  narratives, 
although  fictitious,  on  the  incidents  of  real  life,  have  been  able 
to  make  them  interesting  and  useful  vehicles  of  a  sound  morality. 
Such,  I  think,  are  Marmontel's  new  moral  tales,  but  not  his  old 
ones,  which  are  really  immoral.  Such  are  the  writings  of  Miss 
Edge  worth,  and  some  of  those  of  Madame  Genlis.  For  a  like 
reason,  too,  much  poetry  should  not  be  indulged.  Some  is  useful 
for  forming  style  and  taste.  Pope,  Dryden,  Thompson,  Shaks- 
peare,  and  of  the  French,  Moliere,  Racine,  the  Corneilles,  may 
be  read  with  pleasure  and  improvement. 

The  French  language,  become  that  of  the  general  intercourse 
of  nations,  and  from  their  extraordinary  advances,  now  the  de- 
pository of  all  science,  is  an  indispensable  part  of  education  for 
both  sexes.  In  the  subjoined  catalogue,  therefore,  I  have  placed 
the  books  of  both  languages  indifferently,  according  as  the  one 
or  the  other  offers  what  is  best. 

The  ornaments  too,  and  the  amusements  of  life,  are  entitled 
to  their  portion  of  attention.  These,  for  a  female,  are  dancing, 
drawing,  and  music.  The  first  is  a  healthy  exercise,  elegant  and 
very  attractive  for  young  people.  Every  affectionate  parent 
would  be  pleased  to  see  his  daughter  qualified  to  participate  with 
her  companions,  and  without  awkwardness  at  least,  in  the  circles 
of  festivity,  of  which  she  occasionally  becomes  a  part.  I<:  is  a 
necessary  accomplishment,  therefore,  although  of  short  i,ie  ,  for 
the  French  rule  is  wise,  that  no  lady  dances  after  marriage.     This 


is  founded  in  solid  physical  reasons,  gestation  and  nursing  leav- 
ing little  time  to  a  married  lady  when  this  exercise  can  be  either 
safe  or  innocent.  Drawing  is  thought  less  of  in  this  country 
tlian  in  Europe.  It  is  an  innocent  and  engaging  amusement, 
often  useful,  and  a  qualification  not  to  be  neglected  in  one  who 
is  to  become  a  mother  and  an  instructor.  Music  is  invaluable 
where  a  person  has  an  ear.  Where  the^^  have  not,  it  should  not 
be  attempted.  It  furnishes  a  delightful  recreation  for  the  hours 
of  respite  from  the  cares  of  the  day,  and  lasts  us  through  life. 
The  taste  of  this  country,  too,  calls  for  this  accomplishment  more 
strongly  than  for  either  of  the  others. 

I  need  say  nothing  of  household  economy,  in  which  the 
mothers  of  our  country  are  "generally  skilled,  and  generally  care- 
ful to  instruct  their  daughters.  We  all  know  its  value,  and  that 
diligence  and  dexterity  in  all  its  processes  are  inestimable  treas- 
ures. The  order  and  economy  of  a  house  are  as  honorable  to  the 
mistress  as  those  of  the  farm  to  the  master,  and  if  either  be  neg- 
lected, ruin  follows,  and  children  destitute  of  the  means  of  living. 

This,  Sir,  is  oflFered  as  a  summary  sketch  on  a  subject  on  which 
I  have  not  thought  much.  It  probably  contains  nothing  but 
what  has  already  occurred  to  yourself,  and  claims  your  accept- 
ance on  no  other  groimd  than  as  a  testimony  of  my  respect  for 
yom-  wishes,  and  of  my  great  esteem  and  respect 


MoxTicELL",  Mnv  17,  ISIS. 

De.vb  Sir, — I  was  so  unfortunate  as  not  to  receive  from  Mi-. 
Holly's  own  hand  3^0 ur  favor  of  January  the  2Sth,  being  then  at 
my  other  home.  He  dined  only  with  my  family,  and  left  them 
with  an  impression  which  has  filled  me  with  regret  that  I  did  not 
partake  of  the  pleasure  his  visit  gave  them.  I  am  glad  he  is  gone 
to  Kentucky.  Rational  Christianity  will  thrive  more  rapidly 
there  than  here.  They  are  freer  from  prejudices  than  we  are, 
and  bolder  in  grasping  at  truth.     The  time  is  not  distant,  though 


neither  you  nor  I  shall  see  it,  when  we  shall  be  but  a  secondary 
people  to  them.  Our  greediness  for  wealth,  and  fantastical  ex- 
pense, have  degraded,  and  will  degrade,  the  minds  of  our  mari- 
time citizens.     These  are  the  peculiar  vices  of  commerce. 

I  had  been  long  without  hearing  from  you,  but  I  had  heard  of 
you  through  a  letter  from  Doctor  Waterhouse.  He  wrote  to  re- 
claim against  an  expression  of  Mr.  Wirt's,  as  to  the  commence- 
ment of  motion  in  the  revolutionary  ball.  The  lawyers  say  that 
words  are  always  to  be  expounded  secunduin  suhjectam  materiem, 
which,  in  Mr.  Wirt's  case,  was  Virginia.  It  would,  moreover,  be 
as  difficult  to  say  at  what  moment  the  Revolution  began,  and 
what  incident  set  it  in  motion,  as  to  fix  the  moment  that  the  em- 
bryo becomes  an  animal,  or  the  act  which  gives  him  a  beginning. 
But  the  most  agreeable  part  of  his  letter  was  that  which  informed 
me  of  your  health,  your  activity,  and  strength  of  memory  ;  and 
the  most  wonderful,  that  which  assured  me  that  you  retained 
your  industry  and  promptness  in  epistolary  correspondence. 
Here  you  have  entire  advantage  over  me.  My  repugnance  to 
the  writing  table  becomes  daily  and  hourly  more  deadly  and  in- 
surmountable. In  place  of  this  has  come  on  a  canine  appetite 
for  reading.  And  I  indulge  it,  because  I  see  in  it  a  relief  against 
the  tcedium  seneciutis  ;  a  lamp  to  lighten  my  path  througti  the 
dreary  wilderness  of  time  before  me,  whose  boiu'ne  I  see  not. 
Losing  daily  all  interest  in  the  things  around  us,  something  else 
is  necessary  to  fill  the  void.  With  me  it  is  reading,  which  occu- 
pies the  mind  without  the  labor  of  producing  ideas  from  my  own 

I  enter  into  all  your  doubts  as  to  the  event  of  the  revolution  of 
South  America.  They  will  succeed  against  Spain.  But  the 
dangerous  enemy  is  within  their  own  breasts.  Ignorance  and  su- 
perstition will  chain  their  minds  and  bodies  under  religious  and 
military  despotism.  I  do  believe  it  would  be  better  for  tliem  to 
obtain  freedom  by  degrees  only  ;  because  that  would  by  degrees 
bring  on  light  and  information,  and  qualify  them  to  take  charge 
of  themselves  understandingly ;  with  more  certainty,  if  in  the 
meantime,  under  so  much  control  as  may  keep  them  at  peace 


with  one  another.  Surely,  it  is  our  duty  to  wish  them  indepen- 
dence and  self-government,  because  they  wish  it  themselves, 
and  they  have  the  right,  and  we  none,  to  choose  for  themselves , 
and  I  wish,  moreover,  that  our  ideas  may  be  erroneous,  and  theirs 
prove  well  founded.  But  these  are  speculations,  my  friend,  which 
we  may  as  well  deliver  over  to  those  who  are  to  see  their  de- 
velopment. We  shall  only  be  lookers  on,  from  the  clouds 
above,  as  now  we  look  down  on  the  labors,  the  hurry  and  bustle 
of  the  ants  and  bees.  Perhaps  in  that  super-mundane  region,  we 
may  be  amused  with  seeing  the  fallacy  of  our  own  guesses,  and 
even  the  nothingness  of  those  labors  which  have  filled  and  agi- 
tated our  own  time  here. 

En  atte7idant,  with  sincere'  affections  to  Mrs.  Adams  and  your- 
self, I  salute  you  both  cordially. 

TO    M.    JULLIEN. 

MoNTiCELLo,  July  23,  1818. 

Sir, — Your  favor  of  March  30th,  1817,  came  to  my  hands  on 
the  1st  of  March,  1818.  While  the  statement  it  contained  of  the 
many  instances  of  your  attention  in  sending  to  me  your  diiierent 
writings  was  truly  flattering,  it  Avas  equally  mortifying  to  per- 
ceive that  two  only  of  the  eight  it  enumerates,  had  ever  come 
to  my  hands  ;  and  that  both  of  my  acknowledgments  of  these 
had  miscarried  also.  Your  first  favor  of  November  5th,  1809, 
was  received  by  me  on  the  6th  of  May,  1810,  and  was  an- 
swered on  the  15th  of  July  of  the  same  year,  with  an  acknowl- 
edgment of  the  receipt  of  your  ''  Essai  general  d^ education  phys- 
ique morale,  et  iiitellectuelle"  and  of  the  high  sense  I  entertained 
of  its  utility.  I  do  not  recollect  through  what  channel  I  sent 
this  answer,  but  have  little  doubt  that  it  was  through  the  office 
of  our  Secretary  of  State,  and  our  minister  then  at  the  court  of 

In  a  letter  from  Mr.  E.  I.  Dupont  of  August  11,  1817,  I  re- 
ceived the  favor  of  your  "  Esquisse  d'un  ouvrage  sur  I'educa- 


tioji  comparee,"  which  he  said  had  been  received  by  his  fathej 
a  few  days  before  his  death  ;  and  on  the  9th  of  September,  1817, 
I  answered  his  letter,  in  which  was  the  following  paragrapn  : 
"I  duly  received  tho  pamphlet  of  M.  Jullien  on  Education,  to 
whom  I  had  been  indebted  some  years  before  for  a  valuable  work 
on  the  same  subject.  Of  this  I  expressed  to  him  my  high  esti- 
mation in  a  letter  of  thanks,  which  I  trust  he  received.  The 
present  pamphlet  is  an  additional  proof  of  his  useful  assiduities 
on  this  interesting  subject,  which,  if  the  condition  of  man  is  to 
be  progressively  ameliorated,  as  we  fondly  hope  and  believe,  is 
to  be  the  chief  instrument  in  effecting  it."  I  hoped  that  Mr.  E. 
I.  Dupont,  in  acknowledging  to  you  the  receipt  of  your  letter  to 
his  father,  would  be  the  channel  of  conveying  to  you  my  thanks, 
as  he  was  to  me  of  the  work  for  which  they  were  rendered. 
Be  assured.  Sir,  that  not  another  scrip,  either  written  or  printed, 
ever  came  to  me  from  you ;  and  that  I  was  incapable  of  omitting 
the  acknowledgments  they  called  for,  and  of  the  neglect  which 
you  have  had  so  much  reason  to  impute  to  me.  I  know  well 
the  uncertainty  of  transmissions  across  the  Atlantic,  but  never 
before  experienced  such  a  train  of  them  as  has  taken  place  in 
your  favors  and  my  acknowledgments  of  them.  You  will  per- 
ceive that  the  letter  I  am  now  answering  was  eleven  months  on 
its  passage  to  me. 

The  distance  between  the  scenes  of  action  of  General  Kos- 
ciusko and  myself,  during  our  revolutionary  war, — his  in  the 
military,  mine  in  the  civil  department, — was  such,  that  I  could 
give  no  particulars  of  the  part  he  acted  in  that  war.  But  im- 
mediately on  the  receipt  of  your  letter,  I  wrote  to  General  Arm- 
strong, who  had  been  his  companion  in  arms,  and  an  aid  to  Gen- 
eral Gates,  with  whom  General  Kosciusko  mostly  seiwed,  and 
requested  him  to  give  me  all  the  details  within  his  knowledge  ; 
informing  him  for  whom,  and  for  what  purpose  they  were  asked. 
I  received,  two  days  ago  only,  the  paper  of  which  the  enclosed 
is  a  copy,  and  copied  by  myself,  because  the  original  is  in  such  a 
liandwritiug  as  I  am  confident  no  foreigner  could  ever  decypher. 
However  heavily  pressed  by  the  hand  of  age,  and  unequal  to  the 


duties  of  punctual  correspondence,  of  which  my  friends  generallj' 
would  have  a  right  to  complain,  if  the  cause  depended  on  myself, 
I  am  happy  to  find  that  in  that  with  yourself  there  has  been  no 
ground  of  reproach.  Least  of  all  things  could  I  have  omitted 
any  researches  within  my  power  which  might  do  justice  to  the 
memory  of  General  Kosciusko,  the  brave  auxiliary  of  my  country 
in  its  struggle  for  liberty,  and,  from  the  year  1797,  when  our 
particular  acquaintance  began,  my  most  intimate  and  much  be- 
loved friend.  On  his  last  departure  from  the  United  States  in 
1798,  he  left  in  my  hands  an  instrument  appropriating  after  his 
death  all  the  property  he  had  in  our  public  funds,  the  price  of 
his  military  services  here,  to  the  education  and  emancipation  of 
as  many  of  the  children  of  bondage  in  this  country  as  it  sliould 
be  adequate  to.  I  am  now  too  old  to  undertake  a  business  de  si 
longue  halcine ;  but  I  am  taking  measures  to  place  it  in  such 
hands  as  will  ensure  a  faithful  discharge  of  the  philanthropic  in- 
tentions of  the  donor.  I  learn  with  pleasure  your  continued  ef- 
forts for  the  instruction  of  the  future  generations  of  men,  and,  be- 
lieving it  the  only  means  of  effectuating  their  rights,  I  wish  them 
all  possible  success,  and  to  yourself  the  eternal  gratitude  of  those 
who  will  feel  their  benefits,  and  beg  leave  to  add  the  assm-ance 
of  my  high  esteem  and  respect. 


?Iontk:ki.lo,  November  13,  1818. 

The  public  papers,  my  dear  friend,  announce  the  fatal  event 
of  which  your  letter  of  October  the  20th  had  given  me  ominous 
foreboding.  Tried  myself  in  the  school  of  affliction,  by  the  loss 
of  every  form  of  connection  which  can  rive  the  human  heart,  I 
Know  well,  and  feel  what  you  have  lost,  what  you  have  suffered, 
are  suffering,  and  have  yet  to  endure.  The  same  trials  have 
taught  me  that  for  ills  so  immeasurable,  time  and  silence  are  the 
only  medicine.  I  will  not,  therefore,  by  useless  condolences, 
open  afresh  the  sluices  of  your  grief,  nor,  although  mingling  sin- 


ceiely  my  tears  with  yours,  will  I  say  a  word  more  where  words 
are  vain,  but  that  it  is  of  some  comfort  to  us  both,  that  the  term 
is  not  very  distant,  at  which  we  are  to  deposit  in  the  same  cere- 
ment, our  sorrows  and  suffering  bodies,  and  to  ascend  in  essence 
to  an  ecstatic  meeting  with  the  friends  we  have  loved  and  lost, 
and  whom  we  shall  still  love  and  never  lose  again.  God  bless 
you  and  support  you  under  your  heavy  affliction. 


MoNTiOKLi.o,  December  4,  1818. 

Deae  Sir, — Yours  of  November  the  8th  has  been  some  time 
received  ;  but  it  is  in  my  power  to  give  little  satisfaction  as  to  its 
inquiries.  Dr.  Franklin  had  many  political  enemies,  as  every 
character  must,  which,  with  decision  enough  to  have  opinions, 
has  energy  and  talent  to  give  them  effect  on  the  feelings  of  the 
adversary  opinion.  These  enmities  were  chiefly  in  Pennsylvania 
and  Massachusetts.  In  the  former,  they  were  merely  of  the  pro- 
prietary party.  In  the  latter,  they  did  not  commence  till  the 
Revolution,  and  then  sprung  chiefly  from  personal  animosities, 
which  spreading  by  little  and  little,  became  at  length  of  some 
extent.  Dr.  Lee  was  his  principal  calumniator,  a  man  of  much 
malignity,  who,  besides  enlisting  his  whole  family  in  the  same 
hostility,  was  enabled,  as  the  agent  of  Massachusetts  with  the 
British  government,  to  infuse  it  into  that  State  with  considera- 
ble effect.  Mr.  Izard,  the  Doctor's  enemy  also,  but  from  a  pe- 
cuniary transaction,  never  countenanced  these  charges  against 
him.  Mr.  Jay,  Silas  Deane,  Mr.  Laurens,  his  colleagues  also,  ever 
maintained  towards  him  unlimited  confidence  and  respect.  That 
he  would  have  waived  the  formal  recognition  of  our  indepen- 
dence, I  never  heard  on  any  authority  worthy  notice.  As  to  the 
fisheries  England  was  urgent  to  retain  them  exclusively,  France 
neutral,  and  I  believe,  that  had  they  been  ultimately  made  a 
sine  qu  >  no7i,  our  commissioners  (Mr.  Adams  excepted)  would 
hav(;  relinquished  them,  rather  than  have  broken  off  the  treaty. 


To  Mr.  Adams'  perseverance  alone,  on  that  point,  I  have  always 
understood  we  were  indebted  for  their  reservation.  As  to  the 
charge  of  subservience  to  France,  besides  the  evidence  of  his 
friendly  colleagues  before  named,  two  years  of  my  own  service 
with  him  at  Paris,  daily  visits,  and  the  most  friendly  and  confi- 
dential conversation,  convince  me  it  had  not  a  shadow  of  foun- 
dation. He  possessed  the  confidence  of  that  government  in  the 
highest  degree,  insomuch,  that  it  may  truly  be  said,  that  they 
were  more  under  his  influence,  than  he  under  theirs.  The  fact 
is,  that  his  temper  was  so  amiable  and  conciliatory,  his  conduct 
so  rational,  never  urging  impossibilities,  or  even  things  unreason- 
ably inconvenient  to  them,  in  short,  so  moderate  and  attentive  to 
their  difficulties,  as  well  as  our  own,  that  what  his  enemies  called 
subserviency,  I  saw  was  only  that  reasonable  disposition,  which, 
sensible  that  advantages  are  not  all  to  be  on  one  side,  yielding 
what  is  just  and  liberal,  is  the  more  certain  of  obtaining  liberality 
and  justice.  Mutual  confidence  produces,  of  course,  mutual  in- 
fluence, and  this  was  all  which  subsisted  between  Dr.  Franklin 
and  the  government  of  France. 

I  state  a  few  anecdotes  of  Dr.  Franklin,  within  my  own 
knowledge,  too  much  in  detail  for  the  scale  of  Delaplaine's  work, 
but  which  may  find  a  cadre  in  some  of  the  more  particular  views 
you  contemplate.  My  health  is  in  a  great  measure  restored,  and 
our  family  join  with  me  in  afl'ectionate  recollections  and  assur- 
ances of  respect. 

TO    M.    DE    KEUVILLE. 

MoxTict-LLO,  December  13,  1818. 

I  thank  your  Excellency  for  the  notice  with  which  your  let- 
ters favor  me,  of  the  liberation  of  France  from  the  occupation 
of  the  allied  powers.  To  no  one,  not  a  native,  will  it  give  more 
pleasure.  In  the  desolation  of  Europe,  to  gratify  the  atrocious 
caprices  of  Bonaparte,  France  sinned  much  ;  but  she  has  sufi"er- 
ed  more  than  retaliation.     Once  relieved  from  the  incubus  of  her 


late  oppression,  she  will  rise  like  a  giant  from  her  slumbers.  Hei 
soil  and  climate,  her  arts  and  eminent  sciences,  her  central  posi- 
tion and  free  constitution,  will  soon  make  her  greater  than  she 
ever  was.  And  I  am  a  false  prophet,  if  she  does  not  at  some  fu- 
ture dsLj,  remind  of  her  sufferings  those  who  have  inflicted  them 
the  most  eagerly.  I  hope,  however,  she  will  be  quiet  for  the 
present,  and  risk  no  new  troubles.  Her  constitution,  as  now 
amended,  gives  as  much  of  self-government  as  perhaps  she  can 
yet  bear,  and  will  give  more,  when  the  habits  of  order  shall  have 
prepared  her  to  receive  more.  Besides  the  gratitude  which  every 
American  owes  her,  as  our  sole  ally  during  the  war  of  indepen- 
dence, I  am  additionally  affectioned  by  the  friendships  I  contract- 
ed there,  by  the  good  dispositions  I  witnessed,  and  by  the  courte- 
sies I  received. 

I  rejoice,  as  a  moralist,  at  the  prospect  of  a  reduction  of  the 
duties  on  wine,  by  our  national  legislature.  It  is  an  error  to  view 
a  tax  on  that  liquor  as  merely  a  tax  on  the  rich.  It  is  a  prohibi- 
tion of  its  use  to  the  middling  class  of  our  citizens,  and  a  con- 
demnation of  them  to  the  poison  of  whiskey,  which  is  desolating 
their  houses.  No  nation  is  drunken  where  wine  is  cheap ;  and 
none  sober,  where  the  dearness  of  wine  substitutes  ardent  spirits 
as  the  common  beverage.  It  is,  in  truth,  the  only  antidote  to  the 
bane  of  whiskey.  Fix  but  the  duty  at  the  rate  of  other  mer- 
chandise, and  we  can  drink  wine  here  as  cheap  as  we  do  grog  ; 
and  who  will  not  prefer  it  ?  Its  extended  use  will  carry  health 
and  comfort  to  a  much  enlarged  circle.  Every  one  in  easy  cir- 
cumstances (as  the  bulk  of  our  citizens  are)  will  prefer  it  to  the 
poison  to  which  they  are  now  driven  by  their  government.  And 
the  treasury  itself  will  find  that  a  penny  a  piece  from  a  dozen,  is 
more  than  a  groat  from  a  single  one.  This  reformation,  how- 
ever, will  require  time.  Our  merchants  know  nothing  of  the  in- 
finite variety  of  cheap  and  good  wines  to  be  had  in  Europe  ; 
and  particularly  in  France,  in  Italy,  and  the  Graecian  islands  ;  as 
they  know  little  also,  of  the  variety  of  excellent  manufacture's 
and  comforts  to  be  had  anywhere  out  of  England.  Nor  will 
these  things  be  known,  nor  of  course  called  for  here,  until  the 


native  merchants  of  those  countries,  to  whom  they  are  known, 
shall  bring  them  forward,  exhibit  and  vend  them  at  the  moderate 
profits  they  can  afford.  This  alone  will  procure  them  familiarity 
with  us,  and  the  preference  they  merit  in  competition  with  corre- 
sponding articles  now  in  use . 

Our  family  renew  with  pleasure  their  recollections  of  your 
kind  visit  to  Monticello,  and  join  me  in  tendering  sincere  assur- 
ances of  the  gratification  it  afforded  us,  and  of  our  great  esteem 
and  respectful  consideration. 


iloxTicKLi.o,  January  12,  1819. 

Deab  Sib, — The  problem  you  had  wished  to  propose  to  me 
Vv'as  one  which  I  could  not  have  solved  ;  for  I  knew  nothing  of 
the  facts.  I  read  no  newspaper  now  but  Ritchie's,  and  in  that 
chiefly  the  advertisments,  for  they  contain  the  only  truths  to  be 
relied  on  in  a  newspaper.  -I  feel  a  much  greater  interest  in  know- 
mg  wiiat  has  passed  two  or  three  thousand  years  ago,  than  in 
what  is  now  passing.  I  read  nothing,  therefore,  but  of  the  heroes 
of  Troy,  of  the  wars  of  Lacedasmon  and  Athens,  of  Pompey  and 
Cajsar,  and  of  Augustus  too,  the  Bonaparte  and  parricide  scoun- 
drel of  that  day.  I  have  had,  and  still  have,  such  entire  confi- 
dence in  the  late  and  present  Presidents,  that  I  willingly  put  both 
soul  and  body  into  their  pockets.  While  such  men  as  yourself 
and  your  worthy  colleagues  of  the  legislature,  and  such  characters 
as  compose  the  executive  administration,  are  watching  for  us  all, 
I  slumber  without  fear,  and  review  in  my  dreams  the  visions  of 
antiquity.  There  is,  indeed,  one  evil  which  awakens  me  at 
times,  becaust  it  jostles  me  at  every  tm-n.  It  is  that  we  have 
now  no  measure  of  value.  I  am  asked  eighteen  dollars  for  a 
yard  of  broadcloth,  which,  when  we  had  dollars,  I  used  to  get 
for  eighteen  shillings ;  from  this  I  can  only  understand  that  a  dol- 
lar is  now  worth  fiut  two  inches  of  broadcloth,  but  broadcloth 
is  no  standard  of  measure  or  value.     I  do  not  know,  therefore, 


whereabouts  I  stand  in  the  scale  of  property,  nor  what  to  ask,  or 
what  tQ  give  for  it.  I  saw,  indeed,  the  like  machinery  in  action 
in  the  years  '80  and  '81,  and  without  dissatisfaction ;  because  in 
wearing  out,  it  was  working  out  our  salvation.  But  I  see  no- 
thing in  this  renewal  of  the  game  of  "  Robin's  alive"  but  a  gene- 
ral demoralization  of  the  nation,  a  filching  from  industry  its  hon- 
est earnings,  wherewith  to  build  up  palaces,  and  raise  gambling 
stock  for  swindlers  and  shavers,  who  are  to  close  too  their  career 
of  piracies  by  Iraudulent  bankruptcies.  My  dependence  for  a 
remedy,  however,  is  with  the  wisdom  which  grows  with  time  and 
suffering.  Whether  the  succeeding  generation  is  to  be  more  vir- 
tuous than  their  predecessors,  I  cannot  say  ;  but  I  am  sure  they 
will  have  more  worldly  wisdom,  and  enough,  I  hope,  to  know 
that  honesty  is  the  first  chapter  in  the  book  of  wisdom.  I  have 
made  a  great  exertion  to  write  you  thus  much  ;  my  antipathy  to 
taking  up  a  pen  being  so  intense  that  I  have  never  given  you  a 
stronger  proof,  than  in  the  effort  of  writing  a  letter,  how  much  I 
value  you,  and  of  the  superlative  respect  and  friendship  with 
which  I  salute  you. 

TO    MB.    ADAMS. 

MuNTiCKLi.o,  Marcli  21,  1819. 

Dear  Sm, — I  am  indebted  to  you  for  Mr.  Bowditch's  very 
learned  mathematical  papers,  the  calculations  of  which  are  not 
for  every  reader,  although  their  results  are  readily  enough  under- 
stood. One  of  these  impairs  the  confidence  I  had  reposed  in  La 
Place's  demonstration,  that  the  eccentricities  of  the  planets  of  our 
system  could  oscillate  only  within  narrow  limits,  and  therefore 
could  authorize  no  inference  that  the  system  must,  by  its  own 
laws,  come  one  day  to  an  end.  This  would  have  left  the  ques- 
tion one  of  infinitude,  at  both  ends  of  the  line  of  time,  clear  of 
physical  authority. 

Mr.  Pickering's  pamphlet  on  the  pronunciation  of  the  Greek, 
for  which  I  am  indebted  to  you  also,  I  have  read  with  great 
pleasure.     Early  in  life,  the  idea  occurred  to  me  that  the  people 


now  inhabiting  the  ancient  seats  of  the  Greeks  and  Romans, 
although  their  languages  in  the  intermediate  ages  had  suffered 
great  changes,  and  especially  in  the  declension  of  their  nouns, 
and  in  the  terminations  of  their  words  generally,  yet  having  pre- 
served the  body  of  the  word  radically  the  same,  so  they  would 
preserve  more  of  its  pronunciation.  That  at  least  it  was  prob- 
able that  a  pronunciation,  handed  down  by  tradition,  would  re- 
tain ,  as  the  words  themselves  do,  more  of  the  original  than  that 
of  any  other  people  whose  language  has  no  affinity  to  that  origi- 
nal. For  this  reason  I  learnt,  and  have  used  the  Italian  pronun- 
ciation of  the  Latin.  But  that  of  the  modern  Greeks  I  had  no 
opportunity  of  learning  until  I  went  to  Paris.  There  I  became 
acquainted  with  two  learned  Greeks,  Count  Carberri  and  Mr. 
Paradise,  and  with  a  lady,  a  native  Greek,  the  daughter  of  Baron 
de  Tott,  who  did  not  understand  the  ancient  language.  Carberri 
and  Paradise  spoke  it.  From  these  instructors  I  learnt  the  mod- 
ern pronunciation,  and  in  general  trusted  to  its  orthodoxy.  I  say, 
in  general,  because  sound  being  more  fugitive  than  the  written 
letter,  we  must,  after  such  a  lapse  of  time,  presume  in  it  some  de- 
generacies, as  we  see  there  are  in  the  written  words.  We  may 
not,  indeed,  be  able  to  put  our  finger  on  them  confidently,  yet 
neither  are  they  entirely  beyond  the  reach  of  all  indication.  For 
example,  in  a  language  so  remarkable  for  the  euphony  of  its 
sounds,  if  that  euphony  is  preserved  in  particular  combinations 
of  its  letters,  by  an  adherence  to  the  powers  ordinarily  ascribed 
to  them,  and  is  destroyed  by  a  change  of  these  powers,  and  the 
sound  of  the  word  thereby  rendered  harsh,  inharrnonious,  and 
inidiomatical,  here  we  may  presume  some  degeneracy  has  taken 
place.  While,  therefore,  I  gave  in  to  the  modern  pronunciation 
generally,  I  have  presumed,  as  au  instance  of  degeneracy,  their 
ascribing  the  same  sound  to  the  six  letters,  or  combinations  of 
letters,  e,  »,  u,  ei,  oi,  ut,  to  all  of  which  they  give  the  sound  of 
our  double  e  in  the  word  meet.  This  useless  equivalence  of 
three  vowels  and  three  diphthongs,  did  not  probably  exist  among 
the  ancient  Greeks ;  and  the  less  probably  as,  while  this  single 
sound,  ee,  is    overcharged   by  so  many  different  representative 

VOL.  v.  S 


characters,  the  sounds  we  usually  give  to  these  characters  and 
combinations  would  be  left  without  any  representative  signs. 
This  would  imply  either  that  they  had  not  these  sounds  in  their 
language,  or  no  signs  for  their  expression.  Probability  appears 
to  me,  therefore,  against  the  practice  of  the  modern  Greeks  of 
giving  the  same  sound  to  all  these  different  representatives,  and 
to  be  in  favor  of  that  of  foreign  nations,  who,  adopting  the 
Roman  characters,  have  assimilated  to  them,  in  a  considerable 
degree,  the  powers  of  the  corresponding  Greek  letters.  I  have, 
accordingly,  excepted  this  in  my  adoption,  of  the  modern  pronun- 
ciation. I  have  been  more  doubtful  in  the  use  of  the  uv,  ev,  t;., 
wi',  sounding  the  .,  upsilon,  as  our /or  v,  because  I  find  traces  of 
that  power  of  v,  or  of  u,  in  some  modern  languages.  To  go  no 
further  than  our  own,  we  have  it  in  laugh,  cough,  trough,  enough. 
The  county  of  Louisa,  adjacent  to  that  in  which  I  live,  was, 
when  I  was  a  boy,  universally  pronounced  Lovisa.  That  it  is 
not  the  gh  which  gives  the  sound  of  /  or  v,  in  these  words,  is 
proved  by  the  orthography  oi plough,  ti'ough,  thought,  fraught, 
caught.  The  modern  Greeks  themselves,  too,  giving  up  o,  up- 
silon, in  ordinary,  the  sound  of  our  ee,  strengthens  the  presump- 
tion that  its  anomalous  sound  of  /  or  v,  is  a  corruption.  The 
same  may  be  inferred  from  the  cacophony  of  tluqu't  (elavnej  for 
thtvvf,  (elawne,)  .-/xdli-cfg  (Achillefs)  for  J/jlleig,  (Achilleise,) 
f(f;  (eves)  for  fi;,,  (eeuse,)  oqx  (ovk)  for  yx,  (ouk,)  uKfio^  (ovetos) 
for  ixivioc,  (o-u-tos,)  2>(jrs  (zevs)  for  Shvg,  (zese,)  of  which  all  nations 
have  made  their  Jupiter ;  and  the  uselessness  of  the  v  in  evq.ufut, 
which  would  otherwise  have  been  spelt  tcpoi^io.  I  therefore  except 
this  also  from  what  I  consider  as  approvable  pronunciation. 

Against  reading  Greek  by  accent,  instead  of  quantity,  as  Mr 
Ciceitira  proposes,  I  raise  both  my  hands.  What  becomes  of  the 
sublime  measure  of  Homer,  the  full  sounding  rhythm  of  Demos- 
thenes, if,  abandoning  quantity,  you  chop  it  up  by  accent  ?  What 
ear  can  hesitate  in  its  choice  between  the  two  following  rythms  ? 

"  Tdv,  6'aiTa/j.et6d/ievoc:  ^pogefT)  ■KO&a^  anvg  A;i;iAAet)f, 


Tov  d'a-rr/iei6o/ievdi  npoietj)!)  noSa;  ux^i  Xx'tMirvf," 


the  latter  noted  according  to  prosody,  the  former  by  accent,  ind 
dislocating  our  teeth  in  its  utterance  :  every  syllable  of  it,  except 
the  first  and  last,  being  pronounced  against  quantity  And  what 
becomes  of  the  art  of  prosody  ?  Is  that  perfect  coincidence  of 
its  rules  vvith  the  structure  of  their  verse,  merely  accidental '  or 
was  it  of  design,  and  yet  for  no  use. 

On  the  whole,  I  rejoice  that  this  subject  is  taken  up  among 
us,  and  that  it  is  in.  so  able  hands  as  those  of  it.  Pickering. 
Should  he  ultimately  establish  the  modern  pronunciation  of  the 
letters  without  any  exception,  I  shall  think  it  a  great  step  gained, 
and  giving  up  my  exceptions,  shall  willingly  raUy  to  him  ;  and 
as  he  has  promised  us  another  paper  on  the  question  whether  we 
shall  read  by  quantity  or  by  accent,  I  can  confidently'  trust  it  to  the 
correctness  of  his  learning  and  judgment.  Of  the  origin  of  ac- 
centuation, I  have  never  seen  satisfactory  proofs.  But  I  have 
generally  supposed  the  accents  were  intended  to  direct  the  in- 
flections and  modulations  of  the  voice  ;  but  not  to  affect  the 
quantity  of  the  syllables.  You  did  not  expect,  I  am  sure,  to 
draw  on  yourself  so  long  a  disquisition  on  letters  and  sounds,  nor 
did  I  intend  it,  but  the  subject  run  before  me,  and  yet  I  have 
dropped  much  of  it  by  the  way. 

I  am  dehghted  with  youi  high  approbation  of  ]\Ir.  Tracy's 
book.  The  evils  of  this  deluge  of  paper  money  are  not  to  be  re- 
moved, until  our  citizens  are  generally  and  radically  instructed 
in  their  cause  and  consequences,  and  silence  by  their  authority 
the  interested  clamors  and  sophistry  of  speculating,  shaving,  and 
banking  institutions.  Till  then  we  must  be  content  to  return, 
quoad  hoc,  to  the  savage  state,  to  recur  to  barter  in  the  exchange 
of  our  property,  for  want  of  a  stable,  common  measure  of  value, 
that  now  in  use  being  less  fixed  than  the  beads  and  wampum  of 
the  Indian,  and  to  dehver  up  our  citizens,  their  property  and  their 
labor,  passive  victims  to  the  swindling  tricks  of  bankers  and 
mountebankers.  If  I  had  your  permission  to  put  your  letter  into 
the  hands  of  the  editor,  (ililUgan,)  with  or  without  any  verbal  alter- 
ations 5'ou  might  choose,  it  would  ensure  the  general  circulation, 
which  my  prospectus  and  prefatory  letter  will  less  effectually  rec- 


ommend.  There  is  nothing  in  the  book  of  mine  but  these  two 
articles,  and  the  note  on  taxation  in  page  202.  '  I  never  knew 
who  the  translator  was  ;  but  I  thought  him  some  one  who  under- 
stood neither  French  nor  English  ;  and  probably  a  Caledonian,  , 
from  the  number  of  Scotticisms  I  found  in  his  MS.  The  in- 
numerable corrections  in  that,  cost  me  more  labor  than  would 
have  done  a  translation  of  the  whole  de  novo  ;  and  made  at  last 
but  an  inelegant  although  faithful  version  of  the  sense  of  the 
author.     Dios  guarde  a  V.  S.  muchos  anos. 


Monti  CELLO,  March  21,  1819 

Sir, — ^Your  letter  of  February  the  18th  came  to  hand  on  the 
1st  instant ;  and  the  request  of  the  history  of  my  physical  habits 
would  have  puzzled  me  not  a  little,  had  it  not  been  for  the  model 
with  which  you  accompanied  it,  of  Doctor  Rush's  answer  to  a 
similar  inquiry.  I  live  so  much  like  other  people,  that  I  might 
refer  to  ordinary  life  as  the  history  of  my  own.  Like  my  friend 
the  Doctor,  I  have  lived  temperately,  eating  little  animal  food, 
and  that  not  as  an  aliment,  so  much  as  a  condiment  for  the  vege- 
tables, which  constitute  my  principal  diet.  I  double,  however, 
the  Doctor's  glass  and  a  half  of  wine,  and  even  treble  it  with  a 
friend ;  but  halve  its  effects  by  drinking  the  weak  wines  only. 
The  ardent  wines  I  cannot  drink,  nor  do  I  use  ardent  spirits  in 
any  form.  Malt  liquors  and  cider  are  my  table  drinks,  and  my 
breakfast,  like  that  also  of  my  friend,  is  of  tea  and  coffee.  I 
have  been  blest  with  organs  of  digestion  which  accept  and  con- 
coct, "Without  ever  murmuring,  whatever  the  palate  chooses  to 
consign  to  them,  and  I  have  not  yet  lost  a  tooth  by  age.  I  was 
a  hard  student  until  I  entered  on  the  business  of  life,  the  duties 
of  which  leave  no  idle  time  to  those  disposed  to  fulfil  them ;  and 
now,  retired,  and  at  the  age  of  seventy-six,  I  am  again  a  hard 
student.  Indeed,  my  fondness  for  reading  and  study  revolts  me 
from  the  drudgery  of  letter  writing.     And  a  stiff  wrist,  the  con- 


sequence  ot  an  early  dislocation,  makes  writing  both  slow  and 
nainful.  I  am  not  so  regular  in  my  sleep  as  the  Doctor  says  he 
was,  devoting  to  it  from  five  to  eight  hours,  according  as  m^' 
company  or  the  book  I  am  reading  interests  me  ;  and  I  never  go 
to  bed  without  an  hour,  or  half  hour's  previous  reading  of  some- 
thing moral,  whereon  to  ruminate  in  the  intervals  of  sleep.  But 
whether  I  retire  to  bed  early  or  late,  I  rise  with  the  sun.  I  use 
spectacles  at  night,  but  not  necessarily  in  the  day,  unless  in  read- 
ing small  print.  My  hearing  is  distinct  in  particular  conversa- 
tion, but  confused  when  several  voices  cross  each  other,  which 
unfits  me  for  the  society  of  the  table.  I  have  been  more  fortu- 
nate than  my  friend  in  the  article  of  health.  So  free  from 
catarrhs  that  I  have  not  had  one,  (in  the  breast,  I  mean)  on  an 
average  of  eight  or  ten  years  through  life.  I  ascribe  this  ex- 
emption partly  to  the  habit  of  bathing  my  feet  in  cold  water 
every  morning,  for  sixty  years  past.  A  fever  of  more  than  twen- 
ty-four hours  I  have  not  had  above  two  or  three  times  in  my  life. 
A  periodical  headache  has  afflicted  me  occasionally,  once,  per- 
haps, in  six  or  eight  years,  for  two  or  three  weeks  at  a  time, 
which  seems  now  to  have  left  me  ;  and  except  on  a  late  occa- 
sion of  indisposition,  I  enjoy  good  health  ;  too  feeble,  indeed,  to 
walk  much,  but  riding  without  fatigue  six  or  eight  miles  a  day, 
and  sometimes  thirty  or  forty.  I  may  end  these  egotisms,  there- 
fore, as  I  began,  by  saying  that  my  life  has  been  so  much  like 
that  of  other  people,  that  1  might  say  with  Horace,  to  every  one 
"  nomine  miitato,  narratur  fahula  de  te."  I  must  not  end,  how- 
ever, without  due  thanks  for  the  kind  sentiments  of  regard  you 
are  so  good  as  to  express  towards  myself:  and  with  my  acknowl- 
edgments for  these,  be  pleased  to  accept  the  assurances  of  my 
respect  and  esteem. 

TU    MR.     SPATFORD. 

MoNiicELLO,  May  11,  1819. 

Dear  Sir, — The  interest  on  the  late  derangement  of  my  health 
which  was  so  kindly  expressed  by  many,  could  not  but  be  grati- 


fying  to  me,  as  much  as  it  manifested  a  sentiment  that  I  had  not 
been  merely  an  useless  cypher  of  society.  Yet  a  decline  of  health 
at  the  age  of  76,  was  naturally  to  be  expected,  and  is  a  warning 
of  an  event  which  cannot  be  distant,  and  whose  approach  I  con- 
template with  little  concern  ;  for  indeed,  in  no  circumstance  has 
nature  been  kinder  to  us,  than  in  the  soft  gradations  by  which 
she  prepares  us  to  part  willingly  with  what  we  are  not  destined 
always  to  retain.  First  one  faculty  is  withdrawn  and  then  an- 
other, sight,  hearing,  memory,  affections,  and  friends,  filched  one 
by  one,  till  we  are  left  among  strangers,  the  mere  monuments  of 
times,  facts,  and  specimens  of  antiquity  for  the  observation  of  the 

To  your  request  of  materials  for  writing  my  life,  I  know  not 
what  to  say,  although  I  have  been  obliged  to  say  something  to 
several  preceding  applications  of  the  same  kind.  One  answer  in- 
deed is  obviouS;  that  I  am  by  decay  of  memory,  aversion  to  la- 
bor, and  cares  more  suited  to  my  situation,  unequal  to  such  a 
task.  Of  the  public  transactions  in  which  I  have  borne  a  part,  I 
have  kept  no  narrative  with  a  view  of  history.  A  life  of  con- 
stant action  leaves  no  time  for  recording.  Always  thinking  of 
what  is  next  to  be  done,  what  has  been  done  is  dismissed,  and 
soon  obliterated  from  the  memory.  I  cannot  be  insensible  to  the 
partiality  which  has  induced  several  persons  to  think  my  life 
worthy  of  remembrance.  And  towards  none  more  than  yourself, 
who  give  me  so  much  credit  more  than  I  am  entitled  to,  as  to 
what  has  been  effected  for  the  safeguard  of  our  republican  con- 
stitution. Numerous  and  able  coadjutors  have  participated  in 
these  efforts,  and  merit  equal  notice.  My  life,  in  fact,  has  been 
so  much  like  that  of  others,  that  their  history  is  my  history,  with 
a  mere  difference  of  feature.  The  only  valuable  materials  for 
history  which  I  possessed,  were  the  pamphlets  of  the  day,  care- 
fully collected  and  preserved ;  but  these  past  on  to  Congress  with 
my  library,  and  are  to  be  found  in  their  depository.  Except  the 
Notes  on  Virginia,  I  never  wrote  anything  but  acts  of  office,  of 
which  I  rarely  kept  a  copy.  These  will  all  be  found  in  the 
journals  and  gazettes  of  the  times.    There  was  a  book  published 


in  England  about  1801,  or  soon  after,  entitled  "Public  Charac- 
ters," in  which  was  given  a  sketch  of  my  nistory  to  that  period. 
I  never  knew,  nor  could  conjecture  by  whom  this  was  written  ; 
but  certainly  by  some  one  pretty  intimately  acquainted  with  my- 
self and  my  connections.  There  were  a  few  inconsiderable 
errors  in  it,  but  in  general  it  was  correct.  Delaplaine,  in  his  Re- 
pository, has  also  given  some  outlines  on  the  same  subject ;  he 
sets  out  indeed  with  an  error  as  to  the  county  of  my  birth. 
Chesterfield,  which  he  states  as  such,  was  the  residence  of  my 
grandfather  and  remoter  ancestors,  but  Albemarle  was  that  of 
my  father,  and  of  my  own  birth  and  residence.  Excepting  this 
error,  I  remark  no  other  but  in  his  ascriptions  of  more  merit  than 
I  have  deserved.  Girardin's  History  of  Virginia,  too,  gives  many 
particulars  on  the  same  subject,  which  are  correct.  These  pub- 
lications furnish  all  the  details  of  facts  and  dates  which  can  in- 
terest anybody,  and  more  than  I  could  now  furnish  myself  from 
a  decayed  memory,  or  any  notes  I  retain.  While,  therefore,  I 
feel  just  acknowledgments  for  the  partial  selection  of  a  subject 
for  your  employment,  I  am  persuaded  you  will  perceive  there  is 
too  little  new  and  worthy  of  public  notice  to  devote  to  it  a  time 
which  may  be  so  much  more  usefully  employed  ;  and  with  a  due 
sense  of  the  partiality  of  your  friendship,  I  salute  you  with  assur- 
ances of  the  greatest  esteem  and  respect. 

TO    S.    A.    WELLS,    ESQ. 

MoNTicELLO,  May  12,  1819. 

SiE, — An  absence  of  some  time  at  an  occasional  and  distant 
residence  must  apologize  for  the  delay  in  acknowledging  the  re- 
ceipt of  your  favor  of  April  12th.  And  candor  obliges  me  to  add 
that  it  has  been  somewhat  extended  by  an  aversion  to  writing, 
,as  well  as  to  calls  on  my  memory  for  facts  so  much  obliterated 
from  it  by  time  as  to  lessen  my  confidence  in  the  traces  which 
seem  to  remain.  One  of  the  inquiries  in  your  letter,  however, 
may  be  answered  without  an  apjieal  to  the  memory.     It  is  that 


respecting  the  question  whether  committees  of  correspondence 
originated  in  Virginia  or  Massachusetts  ?  On  which  you  suppose 
me  to  have  claimed  it  for  Virginia.  But  certainly  I  have  never 
made  such  a  claim.  The  idea,  I  suppose,  has  been  taken  up 
from  what  is  said  in  Wirt's  history  of  Mr.  Henry,  p.  87,  and  from 
an  inexact  attention  to  its  precise  terms.  It  is  there  said  "  this 
house  [of  burgesses  of  Virginia]  had  the  merit  of  originating  that 
powerful  engine  of  resistance,  corresponding  committees  between 
the  legislatures  of  the  different  colonies."  That  the  fact  as  here 
expressed  is  true,  your  letter  bears  witness  when  it  says  that 
the  resolutions  of  Virginia  for  this  purpose  were  transmitted 
to  the  speakers  of  the  different  Assemblies,  and  by  that  of  Massa- 
chusetts was  laid  at  the  next  session  before  that  body,  who  ap- 
pointed a  committee  for  the  specified  object :  adding,  "  thus  in 
Massachusetts  there  were  two  committees  of  correspondence,  one 
chosen  by  the  people,  the  other  appointed  by  the  House  of  As- 
sembly ;  in  the  former,  Massachusetts  preceded  Virginia ;  in  the 
latter,  Virginia  preceded  Massachusetts."  To  the  origination  of 
committees  for  the  interior  correspondence  between  the  counties 
and  towns  of  a  State,  I  know  of  no  claim  on  the  part  of  Virginia  ; 
but  certainly  none  was  ever  made  by  myself.  I  perceive,  how- 
ever, one  error  into  which  memory  had  led  me.  Our  committee 
for  national  correspondence  was  appointed  in  March,  '73,  and  I 
well  remember  that  going  to  Williamsburg  in  the  month  of  June 
following,  Peyton  Randolph,  om-  chairman,  told  me  that  mes- 
sengers, bearing  despatches  between  the  two  States,  had  crossed 
each  other  by  the  way  ;  that  of  Virginia  carrying  our  propositions 
for  a  committee  of  national  correspondence,  and  that  of  Massa- 
chusetts bringing,  as  my  memory  suggested,  a  similar  proposi- 
tion. But  here  I  must  have  misremembered  ;  and  the  resolutions 
brought  us  from  Massachusetts  were  probably  those  you  mention 
of  the  town  meeting  of  Boston,  on  the  motion  of  Mr.  Samuel 
Adams,  appointing  a  committee  "  to  state  the  rights  of  the  colo- 
nists, and  of  that  province  in  particular,  and  the  infringements 
of  them,  to  communicate  them  to  the  several  towns,  as  the  sense 
of  the  town  of  Boston,  and  to  request  of  each  town  a  free  com- 


munication  of  its  sentiments  on  this  subject"  ?  I  suppose,  there- 
fore, that  these  resohitions  were  not  received,  as  you  think,  while 
the  House  of  Burgesses  was  in  session  in  March,  1773  ;  but  a  fev. 
days  after  we  rose,  and  were  probably  what  was  sent  by  the 
messenger  who  crossed  ours  by  the  way.  They  may,  however, 
have  been  still  different.  I  must  therefore  have  been  mistaken  in 
supposing  and  stating  to  Mr.  Wirt,  that  the  proposition  of  a  com- 
mittee for  national  correspondence  was  nearly  simultaneous  in 
Virginia  and  Massachusetts. 

A  similar  misapprehension  of  another  passage  in  Mr.  Wirt's 
book,  for  which  I  am  also  quoted,  has  produced  a  similar  reclam- 
ation of  the  part  of  Massachusetts  by  some  of  her  most  distin- 
guished and  estimable  citizens.  I  had  been  applied  to  by  Mr. 
Wirt  for  such  facts  respecting  Mr.  Henry,  as  my  intimacy  with 
him,  and  participation  in  the  transactions  of  the  day,  might  have 
placed  within  my  knowledge.  I  accordingly  committed  them 
to  paper,  and  Virginia  being  the  theatre  of  his  action,  was  the 
only  subject  within  my  contemplation,  while  speaking  of  him. 
Of  the  resolutions  and  measures  here,  in  which  he  had  the  ac- 
knowledged lead,  I  used  the  expression  that  "  Mr.  Henry  certainly 
gave  the  first  impulse  to  the  ball  of  revolution."  [Wirt,  p.  41.] 
The  expression  is  indeed  general,  and  in  all  its  extension  would 
comprehend  all  the  sister  States.  But  indulgent  construction 
would  restrain  it,  as  was  really  meant,  to  the  subject  matter  un- 
der contemplation,  which  was  Virginia  alone  ;  according  to  the 
rule  of  the  lawyers,  and  a  fair  canon  of  general  criticism,  that 
every  expression  should  be  construed  secundum  suhjectam  mate- 
riem.  Vv'here  the  first  attack  was  made,  there  must  have  been 
of  course,  the  first  act  of  resistance,  and  that  was  of  Massachu- 
setts. Our  first  overt  act  of  war  was  Mr.  Henry's  embodying  a 
force  of  militia  from  several  counties,  regularly  armed  and  organ- 
ized, marching  them  in  military  array,  and  making  reprisal  on 
the  King's  treasury  at  the  seat  of  government  for  the  public 
powder  taken  away  by  his  Goveriaor.  This  was  on  the  last  days 
of  April,  1775.  Your  formal  battle  of  Lexington  was  ten  or 
twelve  days  before  that,  which  greatly  overshadowed  in  import- 


ance,  as  it  preceded  in  time  our  little  affray,  which  merely  amount- 
ed to  a  levying  of  arms  against  the  King,  and  very  possibly  you 
had  had  military  affrays  before  the  regular  battle  of  Lexington. 

These  explanations  will,  I  hope,  assure  you.  Sir,  that  so  far  as 
cither  facts  or  opinions  have  been  truly  quoted  from  me^  they 
have  never  been  meant  to  intercept  the  just  fame  of  Massachu- 
setts, for  the  promptitude  and  perseverance  of  her  early  resist- 
ance. We  willingly  cede  to  her  the  laud  of  having  been  (al- 
though not  exclusively)  "  the  cradle  of  sound  principles,"  and 
if  some  of  us  believe  she  has  deflected  from  them  in  her  course, 
we  retain  full  confidence  in  her  ultimate  return  to  them. 

I  will  now  proceed  to  your  quotation  from  Mr.  Galloway's 
statements  of  what  passed  in  Congress  on  their  declaration  of 
independence,  in  which  statement  there  is  not  one  word  of  truth, 
and  where,  bearing  some  resemblance  to  truth,  it  is  an  entire  per- 
version of  it.  I  do  not  charge  this  on  Mr.  Galloway  himself ; 
his  desertion  having  taken  place  long  before  these  measures,  be 
doubtless  received  his  information  from  some  of  the  loyal  friends 
whom  he  left  behind  him.  But  as  yourself,  as  well  as  others, 
appear  embarrassed  by  inconsistent  accounts  of  the  proceedings 
on  that  memorable  occasion,  and  as  those  who  have  endeavored 
to  restore  the  truth  have  themselves  committed  some  errors,  I 
will  give  you  some  extracts  from  a  written  document  on  that 
subject,  for  the  truth  of  which  I  pledge  myself  to  heaven  and 
earth ;  having,  while  the  question  of  independence  was  under 
consideration  before  Congress,  taken  written  notes,  in  my  seat, 
of  what  was  passing,  and  reduced  them  to  form  on  the  final  con- 
clusion. I  have  now  before  me  that  paper,  from  which  the  fol- 
lowing are  extracts : 

"■'  On  Friday  the  7th  of  June,  1776,  the  delegates  from  Vir- 
ginia moved,  in  obedience  to  instructions  from  their  constituents, 
that  the  Congress  should  declare  that  these  united  colonies  are, 
and  of  right  ought  to  be,  free  and  independent  States  ;  that  they  are 
absolved  from  all  allegiance  to  the  British  crown,  and  that  all  po- 
litical connection  between  them  and  the  State  of  Great  Britain 
IS,  and  ought  to  he  totally  dissolved  ;  that  measures  should  be 


immediately  taken  for  procuring  the  assistance  of  foreign  powers, 
and  a  confederation  be  formed  to  bind  the  colonies  more  closely 
together.  The  house  being  obliged  to  attend  at  that  time  to 
some  other  business,  the  proposition  was  referred  to  the  next  day, 
when  the  members  were  ordered  to  attend  punctually  at  ten 
o'clock.  Saturday,  June  8th,  they  proceeded  to  take  it  into  con- 
sideration, and  referred  it  to  a  committee  of  the  whole,  into 
which  they  immediately  resolved  themselves,  and  passed  that 
day  and  Monday  the  10th  in  debating  on  the  subject. 

"  It  appearing  in  the  course  of  these  debates,  that  the  colonies 
of  New  York,  New  Jersey,  Pennsylvania,  Delaware,  Maryland, 
and  South  Carolina  were  not  yet  matured  for  falling  from  the 
parent  stem,  but  that  they  were  fast  advancing  to  that  state,  it 
was  thought  most  prudent  to  wait  awhile  for  them,  and  to  post- 
pone the  final  decision  to  July  1st.  But  that  this  might  occasion 
as  little  delay  as  possible,  a  committee  was  appointed  to  prepare 
a  Declaration  of  Independence.  The  committee  were  J.  Adams, 
Dr.  Franklin,  Roger  Sherman,  Robert  R.  Livingston  and  mj^self. 
This  was  reported  to  the  House  on  Friday  the  28th  of  June, 
when  it  was  read  and  ordered  to  lie  on  the  table.  On  Monday 
the  1st  of  July  the  House  resolved  itself  into  a  committee  of  the 
whole,  and  resumed  the  consideration  of  the  original  motion 
made  by  the  delegates  of  Virginia,  which  being  again  debated 
through  the  day,  was  carried  in  the  affirmative  by  the  votes  of 
New  Hampshire,  Connecticut,  Massachusetts,  Rhode  Island,  New 
Jersey,  Maryland,  Virginia,  North  Carolina  and  Georgia.  South 
Carolina  and  Pensylvania  voted  against  it.  Delaware  having  but 
two  members  present,  they  were  divided.  The  delegates  for 
New  York  declared  they  were  for  it  themselves,  and  were  as- 
sured their  constituents  were  for  it ;  but  that  their  instructions 
having  been  drawn  near  a  twelvemonth  before,  when  reconcilia- 
tion was  still  the  general  object,  they  were  enjoined  by  them  to 
do  nothing  which  should  impede  that  object.  They  therefore 
thought  themselves  not  justifiable  in  voting  on  either  side,  and 
asked  leave  to  withdraw  from  the  question,  which  was  given 
them.     The  Committee  rose  and  reported  their  resolution  to  the 


House.  Mr.  Rutledge  of  South  Carolina,  then  requested  the 
determination  might  be  put  off  to  the  next  day,  as  he  beheved 
his  colleagues,  though  they  disapproved  of  the  resolution,  would 
then  join  in  it  for  the  sake  of  unanimity.  The  ultimate  ques- 
tion whether  the  House  would  agree  to  the  resolution  of  the 
committee  was  accordingly  postponed  to  the  next  day,  when  it 
was  again  moved,  and  South  Carolina  concurred  in  voting  for  it ; 
in  the  meantime  a  third  member  had  come  post  from  the  Dela- 
ware counties,  and  turned  the  vote  of  that  colony  in  favor  of  the 
resolution.  Members  of  a  different  sentiment  attending  that 
morning  from  Pennsylvania  also,  their  vote  was  changed  ;  so 
that  the  whole  twelve  colonies,  who  were  authorized  to  vote  at 
all,  gave  their  votes  for  it ;  and  within  a  few  days,  [July  9th,] 
the  convention  of  New  York  approved  of  it,  and  thus  supplied 
the  void  occasioned  by  the  withdrawing  of  their  delegates  from 
the  vote."  [Be  careful  to  observe  that  this  vacillation  and  vote 
was  on  the  original  motion  of  the  7th  of  June  by  the  Virginia 
delegates,  that  Congress  should  declare  the  colonies  independent.] 

"  Congress  proceeded  the  same  day  to  consider  the  Declaration 
of  Independence,  which  has  been  reported  and  laid  on  the  table 
the  Friday  preceding,  and  on  Monday  referred  to  a  committee 
of  the  whole.  The  pusillanimous  idea  that  we  had  friends  in 
England  worth  keeping  terms  with,  still  haunted  the  minds  of 
many.  For  this  reason  those  passages  which  conveyed  censures 
on  the  people  of  England  were  struck  out,  lest  they  give  them 
offence.  The  debates  having  taken  up  the  greater  parts  of  the 
2d,  3d  and  4th  days  of  July,  were,  in  the  evening  of  the  last, 
closed.  The  declaration  was  reported  by  the  committee,  agreed 
to  by  the  House,  and  signed  by  every  member  present  except 
Mr.  Dickinson."     So  far  my  notes. 

Governor  McKean,  in  his  letter  to  McCorkle  of  July  16th,  1817, 
has  thrown  some  lights  on  the  transactions  of  that  day,  but  trust- 
ing to  his  memory  chiefly  at  an  age  when  our  memories  are  not 
to  be  trusted,  he  has  confounded  two  questions,  and  ascribed  pro- 
ceedings to  one  which  belonged  to  the  other.  These  two  ques- 
tions were,  1.  The  Tirginia  motion  of  June  7th  to  declare  ind.e- 


pendence,  and  2.  The  actual  declaration,  its  matter  and  form. 
Thus  he  states  the  question  on  the  declaration  itself  as  decided 
on  the  1st  of  July.  Bat  it  was  the  Virginia  motion  which  was 
voted  on  that  day  in  committee  of  the  whole  ;  South  Carolina, 
as  well  as  Pennsylvania,  then  voting  against  it.  Bat  the  ulti- 
mate decision  in  the  House  on  the  report  of  the  committee  being 
by  request  postponed  to  the  next  morning,  all  the  States  voted 
for  it,  except  New  York,  whose  vote  was  delayed  for  the  reason 
before  stated.  It  was  not  till  the  2d  of  July  that  the  declaration 
itself  was  taken  up,  nor  till  the  4th  that  it  was  decided  ;  and  it 
was  signed  by  every  member  present,  except  Mr.  Dickinson. 

The  subsequent  signatures  of  members  who  were  not  then 
present,  and  some  of  them  not  yet  in  office,  is  easily  explained, 
if  we  observe  who  they  were  ;  to  wit,  that  they  were  of  New 
York  and  Pennsylvania.  New  York  did  not  sign  till  the  15th, 
because  it  was  not  till  the  9th,  (five  days  after  the  general  signa- 
ture,) that  their  convention  authorized  them  to  do  so.  The  con- 
vention of  Pennsylvania,  learning  that  it  had  been  signed  by  a 
minority  only  of  their  delegates,  named  a  new  delegation  on 
the  20th,  leaving  out  Mr.  Dickinson,  who  had  refused  to  sign. 
Willing  and  Humphreys  who  had  withdrawn,  reappointing  the 
three  members  who  had  signed,  Morris  who  had  not  been  pres- 
ent, and  five  new  ones,  to  wit.  Rush,  Clymer,  Smith,  Taylor 
and  Ross ;  and  Morris  and  the  five  new  members  were  permitted 
to  sign,  becaase  it  manifested  the  assent  of  their  full  delegation, 
and  the  express  will  of  their  convention,  which  might  have  been 
doubted  on  the  former  signature  of  a  minority  only.  Why  the 
signatm-e  of  Thornton  of  New  Hampshire  was  permitted  so  late 
as  the  4th  of  November,  I  cannot  now  say  ;  but  undoubtedly  for 
some  particular  reason  which  we  should  find  to  have  been  good, 
had  it  been  expressed.  These  were  the  only  post-signers,  and 
you  see,  Sir,  that  there  were  solid  reasons  for  receiving  those  of 
New  York  and  Pennsylvania,  and  that  this  circumstance  in  no 
wise  affects  the  faith  of  this  declaratory  charter  of  om-  rights 
and  of  the  rights  of  man. 

With  a  view  to  correct  errors  of  fact  before  they  become  in- 


veterate  by  repetition,  I  have  stated  what  I  find  essentially  ma- 
terial in  my  papers ;  but  with  that  brevity  which  the  labor  of 
writing  constrains  me  to  use. 

On  the  fourth  particular  articles  of  inquiry  in  your  letter,  re- 
specting your  grandfather,  the  venerable  Samuel  Adams,  neither 
memory  nor  memorandums  enable  me  to  give  any  information. 
I  can  say  that  he  was  truly  a  great  man,  wise  in  council,  fertile 
in  resources,  immovable  in  his  purposes,  and  had,  I  think,  a 
greater  share  than  any  other  member,  in  advising  and  directing 
our  measures,  m  the  northern  war  especially.  As  a  speaker  he 
could  not  be  compared  with  his  living  colleague  and  namesake, 
whose  deep  conceptions,  nervous  style,  and  undaunted  firmness, 
made  him  truly  our  bulwark  in  debate.  But  Mr.  Samuel  Adams, 
although  not  of  fluent  elocution,  was  so  rigorously  logical,  so 
clear  in  his  views,  abundant  in  good  sense,  and  master  always  of 
his  subject,  that  he  commanded  the  most  profound  attention 
whenever  he  rose  in  an  assembly  by  which  the  froth  of  decla- 
mation was  heard  with  the  most  sovereign  contempt.  I  sincerely 
rejoice  that  the  record  of  his  worth  is  to  be  undertaken  by  one 
so  much  disposed  as  you  will  be  .to  hand  him  down  fairly  to  that 
posterity  for  whose  liberty  and  happiness  he  was.  so  zealous  a 

With  sentiments  of  sincere  veneration  for  his  memory,  accept 
yourself  this  tribute  to  it  with  the  assurances  of  my  great  re- 

P.  S.  August  6th,  1822,  since  the  date  of  this  letter,  to  wit, 
this  day,  August  6th,  '22,  I  received  the  new  publication  of  the 
secret  Journals  of  Congress,  wherein  is  stated  a  resolution,  July 
19th,  1776,  that  the  declaration  passed  on  the  4th  be  fairly  en- 
grossed on  parchment,  and  when  engrossed,  be  signed  by  every 
member ;  and  another  of  August  2d,  that  being  engrossed  and 
compared  at  the  table,  was  signed  by  the  members.  That  is  to 
say  the  copy  engrossed  on  parchment  (for  durability)  was  signed 
by  the  members  after  being  compared  at  the  table  with  the  origi- 
nal one,  signed  on  paper  as  before  stated.     I  add  this  P.  S.  to  the 


copy  of  my  letter  to  Mr.  Wells,  to  prevent  confounding  the  signa- 
ture cl'  the  original  with  that  of  the  copy  engrossed  on  parch- 


JIoNTirELT,o,  June  25,  1819. 

Your  favor,  Sir,  of  the  14th,  has  been  duly  received,  and  with 
it  the  book  you  were  so  kind  as  to  forward  to  me.  For  this 
mark  of  attention,  be  pleased  to  accept  my  thanks.  The  science 
of  the  human  mind  is  curious,  but  is  one  on  which  I  have  not 
indulged  myself  in  much  speculation.  The  times  in  which  I 
have  lived,  and  the  scenes  in  which  I  have  been  engaged,  have 
required  me  to  keep  the  mind  too  much  in  action  to  have  leisure 
to  study  minutely  its  laws  of  action.  I  am  therefore  little  quali- 
fied to  give  an  opinion  orj  the  comparative  worth  of  books  on 
that  subject,  and  little  disposed  to  do  it  on  any  book.  Yours  has 
brought  the  science  within  a  small  compass,  and  that  is  the  merit 
of  the  first  order  ;  and  especially  with  one  to  whom  the  drudgery 
of  letter  writing  often  denies  the  leisure  of  reading  a  single  page 
in  a  week.  On  looking  over  the  summary  of  the  contents  of 
your  book,  it  does  not  seem  likely  to  bring  into  collision  any  of 
those  sectarian  differences  which  you  suppose  may  exist  between 
us.  In  that  branch  of  religion  which  regards  the  moralities  of 
life,  and  the  duties  of  a  social  being,  which  teaches  us  to  love 
our  neighbors  as  ourselves,  and  to  do  good  to  all  men,  I  am  sure 
that  you  and  I  do  not  differ.  We  probably  differ  on  the  dogmas 
of  theology,  the  foundation  of  all  sectarianism,  and  on  which  no 
two  sects  dream  alike  ;  for  if  they  did  they  would  then  be 
of  the  same.  You  say  you  are  a  Calvinist.  I  am  not.  T 
am  of  a  sect  by  myself,  as  far  as  I  know.  I  am  not  a  Jew,  and 
therefore  do  not  adopt  their  theology,  which  supposes  the  God  of 
infinite  justice  to  punish  the  sins  of  the  fathers  upon  their  chil- 
dren, unto  the  third  and  fourth  generation  ;  and  the  benevolent 
and  sublime  reformer  of  that  religion  has  told  us  only  that  God 
is  good  and  perfect,  but  has  not  defined  him.     I  am,  therefore, 

128  JErrERSON'S    WOEKS. 

of  his  theology,  believing'  that  we  have  neither  words  nor  ideas 
adequate  to  that  definition.  And  if  we  could  all,  after  this  ex- 
ample, leave  the  subject  as  undefinable,  we  should  all  be  of  one 
sect,  doers  of  good,  and  eschewers  of  evil.  No  doctrines  of  his 
lead  to  schism.  It  is  the  speculations  of  crazy  theologists  which 
have  made  a  Babel  of  a  religion  the  most  moral  and  sublime  ever 
preached  to  man,  and  calculated  to  heal,  and  not  to  create  differ- 
ences. These  religious  animosities  I  impute  to  those  who  call 
themselves  his  ministers,  and  who  engraft  their  casuistries  on  the 
stock  of  his  simple  precepts.  I  am  sometimes  more  angry  wi(h 
them  than  is  authorized  by  the  blessed  charities  which  he 
preaches.    To  j^ourself  I  pray  the  acceptance  of  my  great  respect. 


MONTICELLO,  July  fl,   1819. 

Deak  Sie, — I  am  in  debt  to  you  for  your  letters  of  May  the 
21st,  27th,  and  June  the  22d.  The  first,  delivered  me  by  Mr. 
Greenwood,  gave  me  the  gratification  of  his  acquaintance  ;  and  a 
gratification  it  always  is,  to  be  made  acquainted  with  gentlemen 
of  candor,  worth,  and  information,  as  I  found  Mr.  Greenwood  lo 
be.  That,  on  the  subject  of  Mr.  Samuel  Adams  Wells,  shall  not 
be  forgotten  in  time  and  place,  when  it  can  be  used  to  his  ad- 

But  what  has  attracted  my  peculiar  notice,  is  the  paper  from 
Mecklenburg  county,  of  North  Carolina,  published  in  the  Essex 
Register,  which  you  were  so  kind  as  to  enclose  in  your  last,  of 
June  the  22d.  And  you  seem  to  think  it  genuine.  I  believe  it 
spurious.  I  deem  it  to  be  a  very  unjustifiable  quiz,  like  that  of 
the  volcano,  so  minutely  related  to  us  as  having  broken  out  in 
North  Carolina,  some  half  a  dozen  years  ago,  in  that  part  of  the 
country,  and  perhaps  in  that  very  county  of  Mecklenburg,  for  I 
do  not  remember  its  precise  locality.  If  this  paper  be  really  taken 
from  the  Raleigh  Register,  as  quoted,  I  wonder  it  should  have 
escaped  Ritchie,  who  culls  what  is  good  from  every  paper,  as 
the  bee  from  every  flower ;  and  the  National  Intelligencer,  too, 


which  is  edited  by  a  North  Carolinian  ;  and  that  the  fire  should 
blaze  out  all  at  once  in  Essex,  one  thousand  miles  from  where 
the  spark  is  said  to  have  fallen.  But  if  really  taken  from  the 
Raleigh  Register,  who  is  the  narrator,  and  is  the  name  subscijbed 
real,  or  is  it  as  fictitious  as  the  paper  itself  ?  It  appeals,  too,  to 
an  original  book,  which  is  burnt,  to  Mr.  Alexander,  who  is  dead, 
to  a  joint  letter  from  Caswell,  Hughes,  and-  Hooper,  all  dead,  to 
a  copy  sent  to  the  dead  Caswell,  and  another  sent  to  Doctor 
Williamson,  now  probably  dead,  whose  memory  did  not  recollect, 
in  the  history  he  has  written  of  North  Carolina,  this  gigantic 
step  of  its  county  of  Mecklenberg.  Horry,  too,  is  silent  in  his 
history  of  Marion,  whose  scene  of  action  was  the  country  border- 
ing on  Mecklenburg.  Ramsay,  Marshall,  Jones,  Girardin,  Wirt, 
historians  of  the  adjacent  States,  all  silent.  When  Mr.  Henry's 
resolutions,  far  short  of  independence,  flew  like  lightning  through 
every  paper,  and  kindled  both  sides  of  the  Atlantic,  this  flaming 
declaration  of  the  same  date,  of  the  independence  of  Mecklen- 
burg county,  of  North  Carolina,  absolving  it  from  the  British  al- 
legiance, and  abjuring  all  political  connection  with  that  nation, 
although  sent  to  Congress  too,  is  never  heard  of.  It  is  not  known 
even  a  twelvemonth  after,  when  a  similar  proposition  is  first 
made  in  that  body.  Armed  with  this  bold  example,  would  not 
you  have  addressed  our  timid  brethren  in  peals  of  thunder  on 
their  tardy  fears  ?  Would  not  every  advocate  of  independence 
have  rung  the  glories  of  Mecklenberg  county  in  North  Carolina, 
in  the  ears  of  the  doubting  Dickinson  and  others,  who  hung  so 
heavily  on  us  ?  Yet  the  example  of  independent  Mecklenberg 
county,  in  North  Carolina,  was  never  once  quoted.  The  paper 
speaks,  too,  of  the  continued  exertions  of  their  delegation  (Cas- 
well, Hooper,  Hughes)  "  in  the  cause  of  liberty  and  indepen- 
dence." Now  you  remember  as  well  as  I  do,  that  we  had  not  a 
greater  tory  in  Congress  than  Hooper ;  that  Hughes  was  very 
wavering,  sometimes  firm,  sometimes  feeble,  according  as  the  day 
was  clear  or  cloudy ;  that  Caswell,  indeed,  was  a  good  whig,  and 
kept  these  gentlemen  to  the  notch,  while  he  was  present ;  but 
that  he  left  us  soon,  and  their  line  of  conduct  became  then  un- 

VOL.  VII.  9 


certain  until  Penn  came,  who  fixed  Hughes  and  the  vote  of  the 
State.  I  must  not  be  understood  as  suggesting  any  doubtfulness 
m  the  State  of  North  Carolina.  No  State  was  more  fixed  or  for- 
ward. Nor  do  I  affirm,  positively,  that  this  paper  is  a  fabrica- 
tion ;  because  the  proof  of  a  negative  can  only  be  presumptive. 
But  I  shall  believe  it  such  until  positive  and  solemn  proof  of  its 
authenticity  be  produced.  And  if  the  name  of  McKnitt  be  real, 
and  not  a  part  of  the  fabrication,  it  needs  a  vindication  by  the 
production  of  such  proof.  For  the  present,  I  must  be  an  unbe- 
liever in  the  apocryphal  gospel. 

I  am  glad  to  learn  that  Mr.  Ticknor  has  safely  returned  to  his 
friends ;  but  should  have  been  much  more  pleased  had  he  accept- 
ed the  Professorship  in  our  University,  which  we  should  have 
offered  him  in  form.  Mr.  Bowditch,  too,  refuses  us ;  so  fascinat- 
ing is  the  vinculum  of  the  dulce  natale  solutn.  Our  wish  is  to 
procure  natives,  where  they  can  be  found,  like  these  gentlemen, 
of  the  first  order  of  requirement  in  their  respective  lines  ;  but 
preferring  foreigners  of  the  first  order  to  natives  of  the  second, 
we  shall  certainly  have  to  go  for  several  of  our  Professors,  to 
countries  more  advanced  in  science  than  we  are. 

I  set  out  within  three  or  four  days  for  my  other  home,  the  dis- 
tance of  which,  and  its  cross  mails,  are  great  impediments  to  epis- 
tolary communications.  I  shall  remain  there  about  two  months ; 
and  there,  here,  and  everywhere,  I  am  and  shall  always  be,  affec- 
tionately and  respectfully  yours. 


Poplar  FoiiKt,T,  August  '24,  1819. 

Sir, — The  acknowledgment  of  your  favor  of  July  15th,  and 
thanks  for  the  Review  which  it  covered  of  Mr.  Pickering's 
Memoir  on  the  Modem  Greek,  have  been  delayed  by  a  visit  to 
an  occasional  hut  distant  residence  from  Monticello,  and  to  an 
attack  here  of  rheumatism  which  is  just  now  moderating.     I  had 


been  much  pleased  with  the  memoir,  and  was  much  also  with 
your  review  of  it.  I  have  little  hope  indeed  of  the  recovery  of 
the  ancient  pronunciation  of  that  finest  of  human  languages,  but 
still  I  rejoice  at  the  attention  the  subject  seems  to  excite  with 
you,  because  it  is  an  evidence  that  our  country  hegins  to  have 
a  taste  for  something  more  than  merely  as  much  Greek  as  will 
pass  a  candidate  for  clerical  ordination. 

You  ask  my  opinion  on  the  extent  to  which  classical  learning 
should  be  carried  in  our  country.  A  sickly  condition  permits  me 
to  think,  and  a  rheumatic  hand  to  write  too  briefly  on  this  litigat- 
ed qnestiou.  The  utilities  we  derive  from  the  remains  of  the 
Greek  and  Latin  languages  are,  first,  as  models  of  pure  taste  in 
writing.  To  these  we  are  certainly  indebted  for  the  national 
and  chaste  style  of  modern  composition  which  so  much  dis- 
tinguishes the  nations  to  whom  these  languages  are  familiar. 
Without  these  models  we  should  probably  have  continued  the 
inflated  style  of  our  northern  ancestors,  or  the  hyperbolical  and 
vague  one  of  the  east.  Second.  Among  the  values  of  classical 
learning,  I  estimate  the  luxury  of  reading  the  Greek  and  Roman 
authors  in  all  the  beauties  of  their  originals.  And  why  should 
not  this  innocent  and  elegant  luxury  take,  its  preeminent  stand 
ahead  of  all  those  addressed  merely  to  the  senses  ?  I  think  my- 
self more  indebted  to  my  father  for  this  than  for  all  the  other  lux- 
uries his  cares  and  affections  have  placed  within  my  reach  ;  and 
more  now  than  when  younger,  and  more  susceptible  of  delights 
from  other  sources.  When  the  decays  of  age  have  enfeebled  the 
useful  energies  of  the  mind,  the  classic  pages  fill  up  the  vacuum 
of  ennui,  and  become  sweet  composers  to  that  rest  of  the  grave 
into  which  we  are  all  sooner  or  later  to  descend.  Third.  A  third 
value  is  in  the  stores  of  real  science  deposited  and  transmitted  us 
in  these  languages,  to-wit :  in  history,  ethics,- arithmetic,  geom- 
etry, astronomy,  natural  history,  &c. 

But  to  whom  are  these  things  useful  ?  Certainly  not  to  all 
men.  There  are  conditions  of  life  to  which  they  must  be  for- 
ever estranged,  and  there  are  epochs  of  life  too,  after  which  the 
endeavor  to  attain  them  would  be  a  great  misemplovment  of 


time.  Their  acquisition  should  be  the  occupation  of  our  early 
years  only,  when  the  memory  is  susceptible  of  deep  and  ^.asting 
impressions,  and  reason  and  judgment  not  yet  strong  enough  for 
abstract  speculations.  To  the  moralist  they  are  valuable,  be- 
cause they  furnish  ethical  writings  highly  and  justly  esteemed  ; 
although  in  my  own  opinion,  the  moderns  are  far  advanced  be- 
yond them  in  this  line  of  science,  the  divine  finds  in  the  Greek 
language  a  translation  of  his  primary  code,  of  more  importance 
to  him  than  the  original  because  better  understood  ;  and,  in  the 
same  language,  the  newer  code,  with  the  doctrines  of  the  earliest 
fathers,  who  lived  and  wrote  before  the  simple  precepts  of  the 
founder  of  this  most  benign  and  pure  of  all  systems  of  morality 
became  frittered  into  subtleties  and  mysteries,  and  hidden  under 
jargons  incomprehensible  to  the  human  mind.  To  these  original 
sources  he  must  now,  therefore,  return,  to  recover  the  virgin  pu- 
rity of  his  religion.  The  lawyer  finds  in  the  Latin  language  the 
system  of  civil  law  most  conformable  with  the  principles  of  justice 
of  any  which  has  ever  yet  been  established  among  men,  and 
from  which  much  has  been  incorporated  into  our  own.  The 
physician  as  good  a  code  of  his  art  as  has  been  given  us  to  this 
day.  Theories  and  systems  of  medicine,  indeed,  have  been  in 
perpetual  change  from  the  days  of  the  good  Hippocrates  to  the 
days  of  the  good  Rush,  but  which  of  them  is  the  true  one  ?  the 
present,  to  be  sure,  as  long  as  it  is  the  present,  but  to  yield  its 
place  in  turn  to  the  next  novelty,  which  is  then  to  become  the 
true  system,  and  is  to  mark  the  vast  advance  of  medicine  since 
the  days  of  Hippocrates.  Our  situation  is  certainly  iDenefited 
by  the  discovery  of  some  new  and  very  valuable  medicines ;  and 
substituting  those  for  some  of  his  with  the  treasure  of  facts,  and 
of  sound  observations  recorded  by  him  (mixed  to  be  sure  with 
anilities  of  his  day)  and  we  shall  have  nearly  the  present  sunv 
of  the  healing  art.  The  statesman  will  find  in  these  language* 
history,  politics,  mathematics,  ethics,  eloquence,  love  of  country, 
to  which  he  must  add  the  sciences  of  his  own  day,  for  which  of 
them  should  be  unknown  to  him  ?  And  all  the  sciences  must 
recur  to  the  classical  languages  for  the  etymon,  and  sound  under- 


standing  of  their  fundamental  terms.  For  the  merchant  I  should 
not  say  that  the  languages  are  a  necessary.  Ethics,  mathemat- 
ics, geography,  political  economy,  history,  seem  to  constitute  the 
immediate  foundations  of  his  calling.  The  agriculturist  needs 
ethics,  mathematics,  chemistry  and  natural  philosophy.  The 
mechanic  the  same.  To  them  the  languages  are  but  ornament 
and  comfort.  I  know  it  is  often  said  there  have  been  shining 
examples  of  men  of  great  abilities  in  all  the  businesses  of  life, 
•without  any  other  science  than  what  they  had  gathered  from  con- 
versations and  intercourse  with  the  world.  But  who  can  say 
what  these  men  would  not  have  been  had  they  started  in  the 
science  on  the  shoulders  of  a  Demosthenes  or  Cicero,  of  a  Locke 
or  Bacon,  or  a  Newton  ?  To  sum  the  whole,  therefore,  it  may 
truly  be  said  that  the  classical  languages  are  a  solid  basis  for 
most,  and  an  ornament  to  all  the  sciences. 

I  am  warned  by  my  aching  fingers  to  close  this  hasty  sketch, 
and  to  place  here  my  last  and  fondest  wishes  for  the  advance- 
ment of  our  country  in  the  useful  sciences  and  arts,  and  my 
assurances  of  respect  and  esteem  for  the  Reviewer  of  the  Memoir 
on  modern  Greek. 


Poplar  Forkst,  September  6,  1819. 

Dear  Sir, — I  had  read  in  the  Enquirer,  and  with  great  appro- 
bation, the  pieces  signed  Hampden,  and  have  read  them  again 
with  redoubled  approbation,  in  the  copies  you  have  been  so  kind 
as  to  send  me.  I  subscribe  to  every  title  of  them.  They  con- 
tain the  true  principles  of  the  revolution  of  1800,  for  that  was  as 
real  a  revolution  in  the  principles  of  our  government  as  that  of 
1776  was  in  its  form  ;  not  efi"ected  indeed  b};-  the  sword,  as  that, 
but  by  the  rational  and  peaceable  instrument  of  reform,  the  suf- 
frage of  the  people.  The  nation  declared  its  will  by  dismissing 
fmictionaries  of  one  principle,  and  electing  those  of  another,  lu 
the  two  branches,  executive  and  legislative,  submitted  to  their 


election.  Over  the  judiciary  department,  the  constitution  had 
deprived  them  of  their  control.  That,  therefore,  has  continued 
the  reprobated  system,  and  although  new  matter  has  been  occa- 
sionally incorporated  into  the  old,  yet  the  leaven  of  the  old  mass 
seems  to  assimilate  to  itself  the  new,  and  after  twenty  years'  con- 
firmation of  the  federated  system  by  the  voice  of  the  nation,  de- 
clared through  the  medium  of  elections,  we  find  the  judiciary  en 
every  occasion,  still  driving  us  into  consolidation. 

In  denying  the  right  they  usurp  of  exclusively  explaining  the 
constitution,  I  go  further  than  you  do,  if  I  understand  rightly 
your  quotation  from  the  Federalist,  of  an  opinion  that  "  the  ju- 
diciary is  the  last  resort  in  relation  to  the  other  departtnents  of 
the  governnient,  but  not  in  relation  to  the  rights  of  the  parties  tc 
the  compact  under  which  the  judiciary  is  derived."  If  this 
opinion  be  sound,  then  indeed  is  our  constitution  a  complete  felo 
de  se.  For  intending  to  establish  three  departments,  co-ordinate 
and  independent,  that  they  might  check  and  balance  one  another, 
it  has  given,  according  to  this  opinion,  to  one  of  them  alone,  the 
right  to  prescribe  rules  for  the  government  of  the  others,  and  to 
that  one  too,  which  is  unelected  by,  and  independent  of  the  na- 
tion. For  experience  has  already  shown  that  the  impeachment 
it  has  provided  is  not  even  a  scare -crow  ;  that  such  opinions  as 
the  one  you  combat,  sent  cautiously  out,  as  you  observe  also,  by 
detachment,  not  belonging  to  the  case  often,  but  sought  for  out 
of  it,  as  if  to  rally  the  public  opinion  beforehand  to  their  views, 
and  to  indicate  the  line  they  are  to  walk  in,  have  been  so  quietly 
passed  over  as  never  to  have  excited  animadversion,  even  in  a 
speech  of  any  one  of  the  body  entrusted  with  impeachment. 
The  constitution,  on  this  hypothesis,  is  a  mere  thing  of  wax  in 
the  hands  of  the  judiciary,  which  they  may  twist  and  shape  into 
any  form  they  please.  It  should  be  remembered,  as  an  axiom  of 
eternal  truth  in  politics,  that  whatever  power  in  any  government 
is  independent,  is  absolute  also  ;  in  theory  only,  at  first,  while  the 
spirit  of  the  people  is  up,  but  in  practice,  as  fast  as  that  relaxes. 
Independence  can  be  trusted  nowhere  but  with  the  people  in 
ma'is.     They  are  inherently  independent  of  all  but  moral  law. 


My  construction  of  the  constitution  is  very  different  from  that 
you  quote.  It  is  that  each  department  is  truly  independent  of 
the  others,  and  has  an  equal  right  to  decide  for  itself  what  is  the 
meaning  of  the  constitution  in  the  cases  submitted  to  its  action  ; 
and  especially,  where  it  is  to  act  ultimately  and  without  appeal. 
I  will  explain  myself  by  examples,  which,  having  occurred  while 
I  was  in  office,  are  better  known  to  me,  and  the  principles  which 
governed  them. 

A  legislatm'e  had  passed  the  sedition  law.  The  lederal  courts 
had  subjected  certain  individuals  to  its  penalties  of  fine  and  im- 
prisonment. On  coming  into  office,  I  released  these  individuals 
by  the  power  of  pardon  committed  to  executive  discretion,  which 
could  never  be  more  properly  exercised  than  where  citizens  were 
suffering  without  the  authority  of  law,  or,  which  was  equivalent, 
under  a  law  unauthorized  by  the  constitution,  and  therefore  null. 
In  the  case  of  Marbury  and  Madison,  the  federal  judges  declared 
that  commissions,  signed  and  sealed  by  the  President,  were  valid, 
although  not  delivered.  I  deemed  delivery  essential  to  complete 
a  deed,  which,  as  long  as  it  remains  in  the  hands  of  the  party,  is 
as  yet  no  need,  it  is  in  posse  only,  but  not  in  esse,  and  I  with- 
held delivery  of  the  commissions.  They  cannot  issue  a  man- 
damus to  the  President  or  legislature,  or  to  any  of  their  officers.* 

When  the  British  treaty  of  arrived,  without  any  provision 

against  the  impressment  of  our  seamen,  I  determined  not  to  rati- 
fy it.  The  Senate  thought  I  should  ask  their  advice.  I  thought 
that  would  be  a  mockery  of  them,  when  I  was  predetermined 
against  following  it,  should  they  advise  its  ratification.  The 
constitution  had  made  their  advice  necessary  to  confirm  a  treaty, 
but  not  to  reject  it.  This  has  been  blamed  by  some  ;  but  I  have 
never  doubted  its  soundness.  In  the  cases  of  two  persons,  an- 
tenati,  under  exactly  similar  circumstances,  the  federal  court  had 
determined  that  one  of  them  (Duane)  was  not  a  citizen  ;  the 
House  of  Representatives  nevertheless  determined  that  the  other 
(Smith,  of  South  CaroHna)  was  a  citizen,  and  admitted  him  to 
his  seat  in  their  body.     Duane  was  a  republican,  and   Smith  a 

*  The  constitution  controlling  the  common  law  in  this  particilar. 


federalist,  and  these  decisions  were  made  during  the  federal  as- 

These  are  examples  of  my  position,  that  each  of  the  three  de^ 
partments  has  equally  the  right  to  decide  for  itself  what  is  its 
duty  under  the  constitution,  without  any  regard  to  what  the 
others  may  have  decided  for  themselves  under  a  similar  question. 
But  you  intimate  a  wish  that  my  opinion  should  he  known  on 
this  subject.  No,  dear  Sir,  I  withdraw  from  all  contests  of 
opinion,  and  resign  everything  cheerfully  to  the  generation  now 
in  place.  They  are  wiser  than  we  were,  and  their  successors 
will  be  wiser  than  they,  from  the  progressive  advance  of  science. 
Tranquillity  is  the  summum  bonum  of  age.  I  wish,  therefore,  to 
offend  no  man's  opinion,  nor  to  draw  disquieting  animadversions 
on  my  own.  While  duty  required  it,  I  met  opposition  with  a 
firm  and  fearless  step.  But  loving  mankind  in  my  individual 
relations  with  them,  I  pray  to  be  permitted  to  depart  in  their 
peace  ;  and  like  the  superannuated  soldier,  "  quadragenis  sti- 
pendiis  emeritis,"  to  hang  my  arms  on  the  post.  I  have  unwisely, 
I  fear,  embarked  in  an  enterprise  of  great  public  concern,  but 
not  to  be  accomplished  within  my  term,  without  their  liberal  and 
prompt  support.  A  severe  illness  the  last  year,  and  another  from 
which  I  am  just  emerged,  admonish  me  that  repetitions  may  be 
expected,  against  which  a  declining  frame  cannot  long  bear  up. 
I  am  anxious,  therefore,  to  get  our  University  so  far  advanced  as 
may  encourage  the  public  to  persevere  to  its  final  accomplish- 
ment. That  secured,  I  shall  sing  my  nmic  demittas.  I  hope 
your  labors  will  be  long  continued  in  the  spirit  in  which  they 
have  always  been  exercised,  in  maintenance  of  those  principles 
on  which  I  verily  believe  the  future  happiness  of  our  country 
essentially  depends.  I  salute  you  with  affectionate  and  great 


TO    MK.    MOOBE. 

JIoNTicisi.LO,  September  22,  1819. 

1  thank  yon,  Sir,  for  the  remarks  on  the  pronunciation  of  the 
Greek  language  which  you  have  been  so  kind  as  to  send  me.  I 
have  read  them  with  pleasure,  as  I  had  the  pamphlet  of  Mr. 
Pickering  on  the  same  subject.  This  question  has  occupied  long 
and  learned  inquiry,  and  cannot,  as  I  apprehend,  be  ever  positive- 
ly decided.  Very  early  in  my  classical  days,  I  took  up  the  idea 
that  the  ancient  Greek  language  having  been  changed  by  degrees 
into  the  modern,  and  the  present  race  of  that  people  having  re- 
ceived it  by  tradition,  they  had  of  course  better  pretensions  to 
the  ancient  pronunciation  also,  than  any  foreign  nation  could 
have.  When  at  Paris,  I  became  acquainted  with  some  learned 
Greeks,  from  whom  I  took  pains  to  learn  the  modern  pronunci- 
ation. But  I  could  not  receive  it  as  genuine  in  toto.  I  could 
not  believe  that  the  ancient  Greeks  had  provided  six  different 
notations  for  the  simple  sound  of  <,  iota,  and  left  the  five  other 
sounds  which  we  give  to  n,  v,  i-i,  ot,  ui,  without  any  characters 
of  notation  at  all.  I  could  not  acknowledge  the  i,  upsillon,  as 
an  equivalent  to  our  v,  as  in  A/tUfyg,  which  they  pronounce 
Achillevs,  nor  the  ) ,  gamma,  to  oiu-  y,  as  in  uX. ;,  which  they  pro- 
nounce alye.  I  concluded,  therefore,  that  as  experience  proves 
to  us  that  the  pronunciation  of  all  languages  changes,  in  their 
descent  through  time,  that  of  the  Greek  must  have  done  so  also 
in  some  degree  ;  and  the  more  probably,  as  the  body  of  the  words 
themselves  had  substantially  changed,  and  I  presumed  that  the 
instances  above  mentioned  might  be  classed  with  the  degener- 
acies of  time  ;  a  presumption  strengthened  by  their  remarkable 
cacophony.  As  to  all  the  other  letters,  I  have  supposed  we 
might  yield  to  their  traditionary  claim  of  a  more  orthodox  pro- 
nunciation. Indeed,  they  sound  most  of  them  as  we  do,  and, 
where  they  diifer,  as  in  the  f,  (5,  x,  their  souiids  do  not  revolt  us, 
nor  impair  the  beauty  of  the  language. 

If  we  adhere  to  the  Erasmian  pronunciation,  we  must  go  to 
Italy  for  it,  as  we  must  do  for  the  most  probably  correct  pronun- 


ciation  of  the  language  of  the  Romans,  because  rejecting  the 
modern,  we  must  argue  that  the  ancient  pronunciation  was  prob- 
ably brought  from  Greece,  with  the  language  itself;  and,  as  Italy- 
was  the  country  to  which  it  was  brought,  and  from  which  it  eman- 
ated to  other  nations,  we  must  presume  it  better  presei-ved  there 
than  with  the  nations  copying  from  them,  who  would  be  apt  to  af- 
fect its  pronunciation  with  some  of  their  own  national  peculiarities. 
And  in  fact,  we  find  that  no  two  nations  pronounce  it  alike, 
although  all  pretend  to  the  Erasmian  pronunciation.  But  the 
■whole  subject  is  conjectural,  and  allows  therefore  full  and  lawful 
scope  to  the  vagaries  of  the  human  mind.  I  am  glad,  however, 
to  see  the  question  stirred  here ;  because  it  may  excite  among 
our  young  countrymen  a  spirit  of  inquiry  and  criticism,  and  lead 
them  to  more  attention  to  this  most  beautiful  of  all  languages. 
And  wishing  that  the  salutary  example  you  have  set  may  have 
this  good  effect,  I  salute  you  with  great  respect  and  consideration- 

TO    MR.     SHORT. 

MoNTioi.,i.LO,  October  31,  1819. 

Dear  Sir, — Your  favor  of  the  21st  is  received.  My  late  ill- 
ness, in  which  you  are  so  kind  as  to  feel  an  interest,  was  produced 
by  a  spasmodic  stricture  of  the  ilium,  which  came  upon  me  on 
the  7th  inst.  The  crisis  was  short,  passed  over  favorably  on  the 
fourth  day,  and  I  should  soon  have  been  well  but  that  a  dose  of 
calomel  and  jalap,  in  which  were  only  eight  or  nine  grains  of 
the  former,  brought  on  a  salivation.  Of  this,  however,  nothing 
now  remains  but  a  little  soreness  of  the  mouth.  I  have  been 
able  to  get  on  horseback  for  three  or  four  days  past. 

As  you  say  of  yourself,  I  too  am  an  Epicurian.  I  consider  the 
genuine  (not  the  imputed)  doctrines  of  Epicurus  as  containing 
everything  rational  in  moral  philosophy  which  Greece  and  Rome 
have  left  us.  Epictetus  indeed,  has  given  us  what  was  good  of 
the  stoics ;  all  beyond,  of  their  dogmas,  being  hypocrisy  and 
grimace.     Their  great  crime  was  'in  their  calumnies  of  Epicurus 


and  misrepresentations  of  his  doctrines  ;  in  which  we  lament  to 
see  the  candid  character  of  Cicero  engaging  as  an  accomplice. 
Diffuse,  vapid,  rhetorical,  hut  enchanting.  His  prototype  Plato, 
eloquent  as  himself,  dealing  out  mysticisms  incomprehensible  to 
the  human  mind,  has  been  deified  by  certain  sects  usiu-ping  the 
name  of  Christians ;  because,  in  his  foggy  conceptions,  they  found 
a  basis  of  impenetrable  darkness  whereon  to  rear  fabrications  as 
delirious,  of  their  own  invention.  These  they  fathered  blasphe- 
mously on  him  whom  they  claimed  as  their  founder,  but  who 
would  disclaim  them  with  the  indignation  which  their  carica- 
tures of  his  religion  so  justly  excite.  Of  Socrates  we  have  no- 
thing genuine  but  in  the  Memorabilia  of  Xenophon;  for  Plato 
makes  him  one  of  his  Collocutors  merely  to  cover  his  own 
whimsies  under  the  mantle  of  his  name  ;  a  libertjr  of  which  we 
are  told  Socrates  himself  complained.  Seneca  is  indeed  a  fine 
moralist,  disfiguring  his  work  at  times  with  some  Stoicisms,  and 
afli'ecting  too  much  of  antithesis  and  point,  yet  giving  us  on  the 
whole  a  great  deal  of  sound  and  practical  morality.  But  the 
greatest  of  all  the  reformers  of  the  depraved  religion  of  his  own 
country,  was  Jesus  of  Nazareth.  Abstracting  what  is  really  his 
from  the  rubbish  in  which  it  is  bmied,  easily  distinguished  by 
its  lustre  from  the  dross  of  his  biographers,  and  as  separable  from 
that  as  the  diamond  from  the  dunghill,  we  have  the  outlines  of 
a  system  of  the  most  sublime  morality  which  has  ever  fallen 
from  the  lips  of  man ;  outlines  which  it  is  lamentable  he  did  not 
live  to  fill  up.  Epictetus  and  Epicm-us  give  laws  for  governing 
ourselves,  Jesus  a  supplement  of  the  duties  and  charities  we  owe 
to  others.  The  estabhshment  of  the  innocent  and  genuine  char- 
acter of  this  benevolent  moralist,  and  the  rescuing  it  from  the  im- 
putation of  imposture,  which  has  resulted  from  artificial  systems,* 
invented  by  ultra-Christian  sects,  unauthorized  by  a  single  word 
ever  uttered  by  him,  is  a  most  desirable  object,  and  one  to  which 

"■■  e.  g.  The  immaculate  conception  of  Jesus,  his  deification,  the  creation  of  the 
world  by  him,  his  miraculous  powers,  his  resurrection  and  visible  ascension,  hig 
corporeal  presence  in  the  Eucharist,  the  Trinity,  original  sin,  atonement,  regener- 
ation, election,  orders  of  Hierarchy,  <Sjo. 


Priestley  has  successfully  devoted  his  labors  and  learning.  It 
would  in  time,  it  is  to  be  hoped,  effect  a  quiet  euthanasia  of  the 
heresies  of  bigotry  and  fanaticism  which  have  so  long  triumphed 
over  human  reason,  and  so  generally  and  deeply  afflicted  man- 
kind ;  but  this  work  is  to  be  begun  by  winnowing  the  grain  from 
the  chaff  of  the  historians  of  his  life.  I  have  sometimes  thought 
of  translating  Epictetus  (for  he  has  never  been  tolerable  translat- 
ed into  English)  by  adding  the  genuine  doctrines  of  Epicurus 
from  the  Syntagma  of  Gassendi,  and  an  abstract  from  the  Evan- 
gelists of  whatever  has  the  stamp  of  the  eloquence  and  fine  im- 
agination of  Jesus.  The  last  I  attempted  too  hastily  some  twelve 
or  fifteen  years  ago.  It  was  the  work  of  two  or  three  nights 
only,  at  Washington,  after  getting  through  the  evening  task  of 
reading  the  letters  and  papers  of  the  day.  But  with  one  foot  in 
the  grave,  these  are  now  idle  projects  for  me.  My  business  is  to 
beguile  the  wearisomeness  of  declining  life,  as  I  endeavor  to  do, 
by  the  delights  of  classical  reading  and  of  mathematical  truths, 
and  by  the  consolations  of  a  sound  philosophy,  equally  indiffer- 
ent to  hope  and  fear. 

I  take  the  liberty  of  observing  that  you  are  not  a  true  disciple 
of  our  master  Epicurus,  in  indulging  the  indolence  to  which  you 
say  you  are  yielding.  One  of  his  canons,  you  know,  was  that 
"  that  indulgence  which  presents  a  greater  pleasure,  or  produces 
a  greater  pain,  is  to  be  avoided."  Your  love  of  repose  will  lead, 
in  its  progress,  to  a  suspension  of  healthy  exercise,  a  relaxation 
of  mind,  an  indifference  to  everything  around  you,  and  finally  to 
a  debility  of  body,  and  hebetude  of  mind,  the  farthest  of  all 
things  from  the  happiness  which  the  well-regulated  indulgences 
of  Epicurus  ensure ;  fortitude,  you  know,  is  one  of  his  four  car- 
dinal virtues.  That  teaches  us  to  meet  and  suriiiount  diflicul- 
ties;  not  to  fly  from  them,  like  cowards;  and  to  fly,  too,  in  vain, 
for  they  will  meet  and  arrest  us  at  every  turn  of  our  road.  Weigh 
this  matter  well;  brace  yourself  up ;  take  a  seat  with  Correa,  and 
come  and  see  the  finest  portion  of  your  country,  which,  if  you 
have  not  forgotten,  you  still  do  not  know,  because  it  is  no  longer 
the  same  as  when  you  knew  it.     It  wfll  add  much  to  the  happi- 


ness  of  my  recovery  to  be  able  to  receive  Correa  and  yourself, 
and  prove  the  estimation  in  which  I  hold  5-ou  both.  Come,  too, 
and  see  our  incipient  University,  which  has  advanced  with  great 
activity  this  year.  By  the  end  of  the  next,  we  shall  have  elegant 
accommodations  for  seven  professors,  and  the  year  following  the 
professors  themselves.  No  secondary  character  will  be  received 
among  them.  Either  the  ablest  which  America  or  Europe  can 
furnish,  or  none  at  all.  They  will  give  us  the  selected  society 
of  a  great  city  separated  from  the  dissipations  and  levities  of  its 
ephemeral  insects. 

I  am  glad  the  bust  of  Condorcet  has  been  saved  and  so  well 
placed.  His  genius  should  be  before  us;  while  the  lamentable, 
but  singular  act  of  ingratitude  which  tarnished  his  latter  days, 
may  be  thrown  behind  us. 

I  will  place  under  this  a  syllabus  of  the  doctrines  of  Epicurus, 
somewhat  in  the  lapidary  style,  which  I  wrote  some  twenty  years 
ago,  a  like  one  of  the  philosophy  of  Jesus,  of  nearly  the  same 
age,  is  too  long  to  bo  copied.  Vale,  et  tibi  persuade  carissimum 
te  esse  niihi. 

Syllabus  of  the  doctrines  of  Epicurus. 

Physical. — The  Universe  eternal. 

Its  parts,  great  and  small,  interchangeable. 

Matter  and  Void  alone. 

Motion  inherent  in  matter  which  is  weighty  and  declining. 

Eternal  circulation  of  the  elements  of  bodies. 

Gods,  an  order  of  beings  next  superior  to  man,  enjoying  m 
their  sphere,  their  own  felicities ;  but  not  meddling  with  the  con- 
cerns of  the  scale  of  beings  below  them. 

Moral. — Happiness  the  aim  of  life. 

Virtue  the  foundation  of  happiness. 

Utility  the  test  of  virtue. 

Pleasure  active  and  In-do-lent. 

In-do-lence  is  the  absence  of  pain,  the  true  felicity. 

Active,  consists  in  agreeable  motion ;  it  is  not  happiness,  but 
the  means  to  produce  it. 


Thus  the  absence  of  hunger  is  an  article  of  felicity ;  eating 
the  means  to  obtain  it. 

The  summiim  bonum  is  to  be  not  pained  in  body,  nor  troubled 
in  mind. 

i.  e.  In-do-lence  of  body,  tranquillity  of  mind. 

To  procure  tranquillity  of  mind  we  must  avoid  desire  and  fear, 
the  two  principal  diseases  of  the  mind. 

Man  is  a  free  agent. 

Virtue  consists  in  1.  Prudence.  2.  Temperance.  3.  Fortitude. 
4.  Justice. 

To  which  are  opposed,  1.  Folly.  2.  Desire.  3.  Fear.  4.  Deceit. 

TO    J.    ADAMS,  ESq. 

McKNTicELLn,  November  7,  1819. 

Dear  Sir, — Three  long  and  dangerous  illnesses  within  the  last 
twelve  months,  must  -apologize  for  my  long  silence  towards  you. 

The  paper  bubble  is  then  burst.  This  is  what  you  and  I,  and 
every  reasoning  man,  seduced  by  no  obliquity  of  mind  or  inter- 
est, have  long  foreseen  ;  yet  its  disastrous  effects  are  not  the  less 
for  having  been  foreseen.  We  were  laboring  under  a  dropsical 
fulness  of  circulating  medium.  Nearly  all  of  it  is  now  called  in 
by  the  banks,  who  have  the  regulation  of  the  safety-valves  of 
our  fortunes,  and  who  condense  and  explode  them  at  their  will. 
Lands  in  this  State  cannot  now  be  sold  for  a  year's  rent ;  and 
unless  our  Legislature  have  wisdom  enough  to  effect  a  remedy 
by  a  gradual  diminution  only  of  the  medium,  there  will  be  a  gen- 
eral revolution  of  property  in  this  State.  Over  our  own  paper 
and  that  of  other  States  coming  among  us,  they  have  competent 
powers;  over  that  of  the  bank  of  the  United  States  there  is  doubt, 
not  here,  but  elsewhere.  That  bank  will  probably  conform  vol- 
untarily to  such  regulations  as  the  Legislature  may  prescribe  for 
the  others.  If  they  do  not,  we  must  shut  their  doors,  and  join 
the  other  States  which  deny  the  right  of  Congress  to  establish 
banks,  and  solicit  them  to  agree  to  some  mode  of  settling  this 


constitutional  question.  They  have  themselves  twice  decided 
against  their  right,  and  twice  for  it.  Many  of  the  States  have 
been  uniform  in  denying  it,  and  between  such  parties  the  Con- 
stitution has  provided  no  umpire.  I  do  not  know  particularly 
the  extent  of  this  distress  in  the  other  States ;  but  southwardly 
and  westwardly  I  believe  all  are  involved  in  it.  God  bless  you, 
and  preserve  you  many  years. 


MoNTioELLo,  Novembei'  10,  1819. 

SiK, — Your  letter,  and  the  draught  of  a  memorial  proposed  to 
be  presented  to  the  Legislature,  are  duly  received.  With  respect 
to  impressions  from  any  differences  of  political  opinion,  whether 
major  or  minor,  alluded  to  in  your  letter,  I  have  none.  I  left 
them  all  behind  me  on  quitting  Washington,  where  alone  the 
state  of  things  had,  till  then,  required  some  attention  to  them. 
Nor  was  that  the  lightest  part  of  the  load  I  was  there  disburthened 
of;  and  could  I  permit  myself  to  believe  that  with  the  change 
of  circumstances  a  corresponding  change  had  taken  place  in  the 
minds  of  those  who  differed  from  me,  and  that  I  now  stand  in 
the  peace  and  good  will  of  my  fellow-citizens  generally,  it  would 
indeed  be  a  sweetening  ingredient  in  the  last  dregs  of  my  life. 
It  is  not  then  from  that  source  that  my  testimony  may  be  scanty, 
but  from  a  decaying  memory,  illy  retaining  things  of  recent  trans- 
action, and  scarcely  with  any  distinctness  those  of  forty  years 
back,  the  period  to  which  your  memorial  refers :  general  im- 
pressions of  them  -remain,  but  details  are  mostly  obliterated. 

Of  the  transfer  of  your  corps  from  the  general  to  the  State 
line,  and  the  other  facts  in  the  memorial  preceding  my  entrance 
on  the  administration  of  the  State  government,  June  2,  1779,  I, 
of  course,  have  no  knowledge  ;  but  public  documents,  as  well  as 
living  witnesses,  will  probably  supply  this.  In  1780,  I  remem- 
ber your  appointment  to  a  command  in  the  militia  sent  under 
General  Stevens  to  the  aid   of  the  Carolinas,  of  which  fact  the 


commission  signed  by  myself  is  sufficient  proof.  But  I  have  no 
particular  recollections  which  respect  yourself  personally  in  that 
service.  Of  what  took  place  during  Arnold's  invasion  in  the  sub- 
sequent winter  I  have  more  knowledge,  because  so  much  passed 
under  my  own  eye,  and  I  have  the  benefit  of  some  notes  to  aid 
my  memory.  In  the  short  interval  of  fifty-seven  hours  between 
our  knowing  they  had  entered  James  river  and  their  actual  de- 
barkation at  Westover,  we  could  get  together  but  a  small  body  of 
militia,  (my  notes  say  of  three  hundred  men  only, )  chiefly  from  the 
city  and  its  immediate  vicinities.  You  were  placed  in  the  com- 
mand of  these,  and  ordered  to  proceed  to  the  neighborhood  of 
the  enemy,  not  with  any  view  to  face  them  directly  with  so 
small  a  force,  but  to  hang  on  their  skirts,  and  to  check  their 
march  as  much  as  could  be  done,  to  give  time  for  the  more  dis- 
tant militia  to  assemble.  The  enemy  were  not  to  be  delayed, 
however,  and  were  in  Richmond  in  twenty-four  hours  from  their 
being  formed  on  shore  at  Westover.  The  day  before  their  ar- 
rival at  Richmond,  I  had  sent  my  family  to  Tuckahoe,  as  the 
memorial  states,  at  which  place  I  joined  them  about  1  o'clock  of 
that  night,  having  attended  late  at  Westham,  to  have  the  public 
stores  and  papers  thrown  across  the  river.  You  came  up  to  us 
at  Tuckahoe  the  next  morning,  and  accompanied  me,  I  think,  to 
Britton's  opposite  Westham,  to  see  about  the  further  safety  of  the 
arms  and  other  property.  Whether  you  stayed  there  to  look 
after  them,  or  went  with  me  to  the  heights  of  Manchester,  and 
returned  thence  to  Britton's,  I  do  not  recollect.  The  enemy 
evacuated  Richmond  at  noon  of  the  5th  of  January,  having  re- 
mained there  but  twenty-three  hours.  I  returned  to  it  in  the 
morning  of  the  8th,  they  being  still  encamped  at  Westover  and 
Berkley,  and  yourself  and  corps  at  the  Forest.  They  re-em- 
barked at  1  o'clock  of  the  10th.  The  particulars  of  your  move- 
ments down  the  river,  to  oppose  their  re-landing  at  different 
points,  I  do  not  specifically  recollect,  but,  as  stated  in  the  me- 
morial, they  are  so  much  in  agreement  with  my  general  impress- 
ions, that  I  have  no  doubt  of  their  correctness,  and  I  know  that 
your  conduct  from  the  first  advance  of  the  enemy  to  his  depar- 


ture,  "was  approved  by  myself  and  by  others  generally.  The 
rendezvous  of  the  militia  at  the  Tuckahoe  bridge,  and  your  hav- 
ing the  command  of  them,  I  think  I  also  remember,  but  nothing 
of  their  subsequent  movements.  The  legislature  had  adjourned 
to  meet  at  Charlottesville,  where,  at  the  expiration  of  my  second 
year,  I  declined  a  re-election  in  the  belief  that  a  military  man 
would  be  more  likely  to  render  services  adequate  to  the  exigencies 
of  the  times.  Of  the  subsequent  facts,  therefore,  stated  in  the 
memorial,  I  have  no  knowledge. 

This,  Sir,  is  the  sum  of  the  information  I  am  able  to  give  on 
the  subjects  of  your  memorial,  and  if  it  may  contribute  to  the 
purposes  of  justice  in  your  case,  I  shall  be  happy  that  in  bearing 
testimony  to  the  truth,  I  shall  have  rendered  you  a  just  service. 
I  return  the  memorial  and  commission,  as  requested,  and  pray 
you  to  accept  my  respectful  salutations. 

TO    MR.    HIVES. 

iloNTiCELLo,  November  28,  1819. 

Dear  Sir, — The  distresses  of  our  country,  produced  first  b^ 
the  flood,  then  by  the  ebb  of  bank  paper,  are  such  as  cannot  fail 
to  engage  the  interposition  of  the  legislature.  Many  propositions 
will,  of  course,  be  offered,  from  all  of  which  something  may 
probably  be  culled  to  make  a  good  whole.  I  explained  to  you 
my  project,  when  I  had  the  pleasure  of  possessing  you  here  ;  and 
I  now  send  its  outline  in  writing,  as  I  believe  I  promised  you. 
Although  preferable  things  will  I  hope  be  offered,  yet  some  twig 
of  this  may  perhaps  be  thought  worthy  of  being  engrafted  on  a 
better  stock.  But  I  send  it  with  no  particular  object  or  request, 
but  to  use  it  as  you  please.  Suppress  it,  suggest  it,  sound  opin- 
ions, or  anything  else,  at  will,  only  Keeping  my  name  unmen- 
tioned,  for  which  purpose  it  is  copied  in  another  hand,  being 
ever  solicitous  to  avoid  all  offence  which  is  heavily  felt,  when 
retired  from  the  bustle  and  contentions  of  the  world.  If  we  suffer 
the  moral  of  the  present  lesson  to  pass  away  without  improvement 

VOL.  VII.  10 

146  JEFFERSON'S    W0RK<5 

by  the  eternal  suppression  of  bank  paper,  then  indeed  is  the  con 
dition  of  our  country  desperate,  until  the  slow  advance  of  public 
instruction  shall  give  to  our  functionaries  the  wisdom  of  theii 
station.      Vale,  et  tibi  persuade  carisshnum  te  mihi  esse. 

Plan  for  reducing  the  circulating  medium. 

The  plethory  of  circulating  medinm  which  raised  the  prices 
of  everything  to  several  times  their  ordinary  and  standard  value, 
in  which  state  of  things  many  and  heavy  debts  were  contracted  ; 
and  the  sudden  withdrawing  too  great  a  proportion  of  that  me- 
dium, and  reduction  of  prices  far  below  that  standard,  constitute 
the  disease  under  which  we  are  now  laboring,  and  which  must 
end  in  a  general  revolution  of  property,  if  some  remedy  is  not  ap- 
plied. That  remedy  is  clearly  a  gradual  redaction  of  the  medium 
to  its  standard  level,  that  is  to  say,  to  the  level  which  a  metallic 
medium  will  always  find  for  itself,  so  as  to  he.  in  equilibrio  with 
that  of  the  nations  with  which  we  have  commerce. 

To  effect  this, 

Let  the  whole  of  the  present  paper  medium  be  suspended  in 
its  circulation  after  a  certain  and  not  distant  day. 

Ascertafn  by  proper  inquiry  the  greatest  sum  of  it  which  has 
at  any  one  time  been  in  actual  circulation. 

Take  a  certain  term  of  years  for  its  gradual  reduction,  suppose 
\t  to  be  five  years ;  then  let  the  solvent  banks  issue  I  of  that 
amount  in  new  notes,  to  be  attested  by  a  public  officer,  as  a  se- 
curity that  neither  more  or  less  is  issued,  and  to  he  given  out  in 
exchange  for  the  suspended  notes,  and  the  surplus  in  discount. 

Let  ^th  of  these  notes  bear  on  their  face  that  the  bank  will 
discharge  them  with  specie  at  the  end  of  one  year  ;  another  5th 
at  the  end  of  two  years  ;  a  third  5th  at  the  end  of  three  years  ; 
and  so  of  the  4th  and  5th.  They  will  be  sure  to  be  brought  in' 
at  their  respective  periods  of  redemption. 

Make  it  a  high  offence  to  receive  or  pass  within  this  State  a 
note  of  any  other. 

There  is  little  doubt  that  our  banks  will  agree  readily  to  this 
operation ;  if  they  refuse,  declare  their  charters  forfeited  by  their 


former  irregularities,  and  give  summary  process  against  them  for 
the  suspended  notes. 

The  Bank  of  the  United  States  will  probably  concur  also  ;  if 
not,  shut  their  doors  and  join  the  other  States  in  respectful,  but 
firm  applications  to  Congress,  to  concur  in  constituting  a  tri- 
bunal (a  special  convention,  e.  g.)  for  settling  amicably  the  ques- 
tion of  then-  right  to  institute  a  bank,  and  that  also  of  the  States 
to  do  the  same. 

A  stay-law  for  the  suspension  of  executions,  and  their  discharge 
at  five  annual  instalments,  should  be  accommodated  to  these 

Interdict  forever,  to  both  the  State  and  national  governments, 
the  power  of  establishing  any  paper  bank  ;  for  without  this  in- 
terdiction, we  shall  have  the  same  ebbs  and  flows  of  medium, 
and  the  same  revolutions  of  property  to  go  through  every  twenty 
or  thirty  years. 

In  this  way  the  value  of  property,  keeping  pace  nearly  with 
the  sum  of  circulating  medium,  will  descend  gradually  to  its 
proper  level,  at  the  rate  of  about  i  every  year,  the  sacrifices  of 
what  shall  be  sold  for  payment  of  the  first  instalments  of  debts 
will  be  moderate,  and  time  will  be  given  for  economy  and  indus- 
try to  come  in  aid  of  those  subsequent.  Certainly  no  nation 
ever  before  abandoned  to  the  avarice  and  jugglings  of  private 
individuals  to  regulate,  according  to  their  own  interests,  the 
quantum  of  circulating  medium  for  the  nation,  to  inflate,  by 
deluges  of  paper,  the  nominal  prices  of  property,  and  then  to  buy 
up  that  property  at  Is.  in  the  pound,  having  first  withdrawn  the 
» floating  medium  which  might  endanger  a  competition  in  pur- 
chase. Yet  this  is  what  has  been  done,  and  will  be  done,  unless 
stayed  by  the  protecting  hand  of  the  legislature.  The  evil  has 
been  produced  by  the  error  of  their  sanction  of  this  ruinous  ma- 
chinery of  banks ;  and  justice,  wisdom,  duty,  all  require  that 
they  should  interpose  and  arrest  it  before  the  schemes  of  plunder 
and  spoliation  desolate  the  country.  It  is  believed  that  Harpiea 
are  already  hoarding  their  money  to  commence  these  scenes  on 
the  separation 'of  the  legislature;  and  we  know  that  lands  have 
been  already  sold  under  the  hammer  for  less  than  a  year's  rent. 



MoNTiOELLO,  December  10,  ISiy. 

Deak  Sir, — I  have  to  acknowledge  the  receipt  of  your  favoi 
of  November  the  23d.  The  banks,  bankrupt  law,  manufactures, 
Spanish  treaty,  are  nothing.  These  are  occurences  which,  like 
waves  in  a  storm,  will  pass  under  the  ship.  But  the  Missouri 
question  is  a  breaker  on  which  we  lose  the  Missouri  country  by 
revolt,  and  what  more,  God  only  knows.  From  the  battle  of 
Bunker's  Hill  to  the  treaty  of  Paris,  we  never  had  so  ominous  a 
question.  It  even  damps  the  joy  with  which  I  hear  of  your 
high  health,  and  welcomes  to  me  the  consequences  of  my  want 
of  it.  I  thank  God  that  I  shall  not  live  to  witness  its  issue.  Sed 
hcBC  hactenus. 

I  have  beeniamusing  myself  latterly  with  reading  the  volumi- 
nous letters  of  Cicero.  They  certainly  breathe  the  purest  effu- 
sions of  an  exalted  patriot,  while  the  parricide  Cassar  is  lost  in 
odious  contrast.  When  the  enthusiasm,  however,  kindled  by 
Cicero's  pen  and  principles,  subsides  into  cool  reflection,  I  ask 
myself,  what  was  that  government  which  the  virtues  of  Cicero 
were  so  zealous  to  restore,  and  the  ambition  of  Caesar  to  subvert  ? 
And  if  Cassar  had  been  as  virtuous  as  he  was  daring  and  saga- 
cious, what  could  he,  even  in  the  plenitude  of  his  usurped  pow- 
er, have  done  to  lead  his  fellow  citizens  into  good  government  ? 
I  do  not  say  to  restore  it,  because  they  never  had  it,  from  the 
rape  of  the  Sabines  to  the  ravages  of  the  Ca3sars.  If  their  peo- 
ple indeed  had  been,  like  ourselves,  enlightened,  peaceable,  and 
really  free,  the  answer  would  be  obvious.  "  Restore  indepcn'-# 
dence  to  all  your  foreign  conquests,  relieve  Italy  from  the  govern- 
ment of  the  rabble  of  Rome,  consult  it  as  a  nation  entitled  to 
self-government,  and  do  its  will."  But  steeped  in  corruption, 
vice  and  venality,  as  the  whole  nation  was,  (and  nobody  had 
done  more  than  Caesar  to  corrupt  it,)  what  could  even  Cicero, 
Cato,  Brutus  have  done,  had  it  been  referred  to  them  to  establish 
a  good  government  for  their  country  ?  They  had  no  ideas  of 
government  themselves,  but  of  their  degenerate  Senate,  nor  the 


people  of  liberty,  but  of  the  factious  opposition  of  thtir  Tribunes. 
They  had  afterwards  their  Tituses,  their  Trajans  and  Antoni- 
nuses,  who  had  the  will  to  make  them  happy,  and  the  power  to 
mould  their  governmant  into  a  good  and  permanent  form.  But 
it  would  seem  as  if  they  could  not  see  their  way  clearly  to  do  it. 
No  government  can  continue  good,  but  under  the  control  of  the 
people  ;  and  their  people  were  so  demoralized  and  depraved,  as  to 
be  incapable  of  exercising  a  wholesome  control.  Their  refor- 
mation then  was  to  be  taken  up  ab  incunabulis.  Their  minds 
were  to  be  informed  by  education  what  is  right  and  what  wrong  ; 
to  be  encouraged  in  habits  of  virtue,  and  deterred  from  those  of 
vice  by  the  dread  of  punishments,  proportioned  indeed,  but  irre- 
missible  ;  in  all  cases,  to  follow  truth  as  the  only  safe  guide,  and 
to  eschew  error,  which  bewilders  us  in  one  false  consequence 
after  another,  in  endless  succession.  These  are  the  inculcations 
necessary  to  render  the  people  a  sure  basis  for  the  structure  of 
order  and  good  government.  But  this  would  have  been  an  oper- 
ation of  a  generation  or  two,  at  least,  within  which  period  would 
have  succeeded  many  Neros  and  Commoduses,  who  would  have 
quashed  the  whole  process.  I  confess  then,  I  can  neither  see 
what  Cicero,  Cato  and  Brutus,  united  and  uncontrolled,  could 
have  devised  to  lead  their  people  into  good  government,  nor  how 
this  enigma  can  be  solved,  nor  how  further  shown  why  it  has 
been  the  fate  of  that  delightful  country  never  to  have  known,  to 
this  day,  and  through  a  course  of  five  and  twenty  hundred  years, 
the  history  of  which  we  possess,  one  single  day  of  free  and  ra- 
tional government.  Your  intimacy  with  their  history,  ancient 
middle  and  modern,  your  familiarity  with  the  improvements  in 
the  science  of  government  at  this  time,  will  enable  you,  if  any 
body,  to  go  back  with  our  principles  and  opinions  to  the  times 
of  Cicero,  Cato  and  Brutus,  and  tell  us  by  what  process  these 
great  and"  virtuous  men  could  have  led  so  unenlightened  and  vi- 
tiated a  people  into  freedom  and  good  government,  et  eris  mihi 
magnus  Apollo.  Cura  ut  valeas,  et  tibi  persuadeas  carisjimum 
te  mihi  esse. 



MoNTEziLLO,  December  21,  1819. 

Dear  Sir, — I  must  answer  your  great  question  of  the  10th 
in  the  words  of  Dalembert  to  his  correspondent,  who  abked  him 
what  is  matter — "  Je  vous  avoue  je  ne  sqais  rien.''''  In  some 
part  of  my  life  I  record  a  great  work  of  a  Scotchman  on  the 
court  of  Augustus,  in  which,  with  much  learning,  hard  study, 
and  fatiguing  labor,  he  undertook  to  prove  that  had  Brutus  and 
Cassius  been  conqueror,  they  would  have  restored  virtue  and 
liberty  to  Rome. 

Mais  je  n^en  crois  rien.  Have  you  ever  found  in  history  one 
single  example  of  a  nation,  thoroughly  corrupted,  that  was  after- 
wards restored  to  virtue,  and  without  virtue  there  can  be  no  po- 
litical liberty. 

If  I  were  a  Calvinist,  I  might  pray  that  God  by  a  miracle  of 
divine  grace  would  instantaneously  convert  a  whole  contaminated 
nation  from  turpitude  to  purity  ;  but  even  in  this  I  should  be  in- 
consistent, for  the  fatalism  of  Mahometanism,  Materialists,  Athe- 
ists, Pantheists,  and  Calvinists,  and  church  of  England  articles, 
appear  to  me  to  render  all  prayer  futile  and  absurd.  The  French 
and  the  Dutch,  in  our  day,  have  attempted  reforms  and  revolu- 
tions. We  know  the  results,  and  I  fear  the  English  reformers 
will  have  no  better  success. 

Will  you  tell  me  how  to  prevent  riches  from  becoming  the  ef- 
fects of  temperance  and  industry.  Will  you  tell  me  how  to  pre- 
vent riches  from  producing  luxury.  Will  you  tell  me  how  to 
prevent  luxury  from  producing  effeminacy,  intoxication,  extrava- 
gance, vice  and  folly  ?  When  you  will  answer  me  these  ques- 
tions, I  hope  I  may  venture  to  answer  yours ;  yet  all  these  ought 
not  to  discourage  us  from  exertion,  for  with  my  friend  Jeb,  I  be- 
lieve no  effort  in  favor  of  virtue  is  lost,  and  all  good  men  ought 
to  struggle  both  by  their  council  and  example. 

The  Missouri  question,  1  hope,  will  follow  the  other  waves 
under  the  ship,  and  do  no  harm.  I  know  it  is  high  treason  to 
express  a  doubt  of  the  perpetual  duration  of  our  vast  American 


empire,  and  our  free  institution  ;  and  I  say  as  devoutly  as  father 
Paul,  estor  perpetua,  but  I  am  sometimes  Cassandra  enough  to 
dream  that  another  Hamilton,  and  another  Burr,  might  rend  this 
mighty  fabric  in  twain,  or  perhaps  into  a  leash  ;  and  a  few  more 
choice  spirits  of  the  same  stamp,  might  produce  as  many  nations 
in  North  America  as  there  are  in  Europe. 

To  return  to  the  Romans.  I  never  could  discover  that  they 
possessed  much  virtue,  or  real  liberty.  Their  Patricians  were  in 
general  griping  usurers,  and  tyrannical  creditors  in  all  ages. 
Pride,  strength,  and  courage,  were  all  the  virtues  that  composed 
their  national  characters  ;  a  few  of  their  nobles  effecting  sim- 
plicity, frugality,  and  piety,  perhaps  really  possessing  them,  ac- 
quired popularity  amongst  the  plebeians,  and  extended  the  power 
and  dominions  of  the  republic,  and  advanced  in  glory  till  riches, 
and  luxury  come  in,  sat  like  an  incubus  on  the  Republic,  victam 
que  ulcissitur  orbem. 

Our  winter  sets  in  a  fortnight  earlier  than  usual,  and  is  pretty 
severe.  I  hope  you  have  fairer  skies,  and  milder  air.  Wishing 
your  health  may  last  as  long  as  your  life,  and  your  life  as  long 
as  you  desire  it,  I  am,  dear  Sir,  respectfully  and  affectionately, 

TO    H.    NELSON,  ESq. 

MoNTicELLo,  March  12,  1820 

I  thank  you,  dear  Sir,  for  the  information  in  your  favor  of  the 
4th  instant,  of  the  settlement,  for  the  present,  of  the  Missouri 
question.  I  am  so  completely  withdrawn  from  all  attention  to 
public  matters,  that  nothing  less  could  arouse  me  than  the  defi- 
nition of  a  geographical  line,  which  on  an  abstract  principle  is  to 
become  the  line  of  separation  of  these  State?,  and  to  render  des- 
perate the  hope  that  man  can  ever  enjoy  the  two  blessings  of 
peace  and  self-government.  The  question  sleeps  for  the  present, 
but  is  not  dead.  This  State  is  in  a  condition  of  unparalleled  dis- 
tress. The  sudden  reduction  of  the  circulating  medium  from 
a  plethory  to  all  but  annihilation  is  producing  an  entire  revolution 


of  fortune.  In  other  places  I  have  known  lands  sold  by  the 
sheriff  for  one  year's  rent ;  beyond  the  mountain  we  hear  of 
good  slaves  selling  for  one  hundred  dollars,  good  horses  for  five 
dollars,  and  the  sheriffs  generally  the  purchasers.  Our  produce 
is  now  selling  at  market  for  one-third  of  its  price,  before  this 
commercial  catastrophe,  say  flour  at  three  and  a  quarter  and  three 
and  a  half  dollars  the  barrel.  We  should  have  less  right  to  ex- 
pect relief  from  our  legislators  if  they  had  been  the  establishers 
of  the  unwise  system  of  banks.  A  remedy  to  a  certain  degree 
was  practicable,  that  of  reducing  the  quantum  of  circulation 
gradually  to  a  level  with  that  of  the  countries  with  which  we 
have  commerce,  and  an  eternal  abjuration  of  paper.  But  they 
have  adjourned  without  doing  anything.  I  fear  local  insurrec- 
■  tions  against  these  hori'ible  sacrifices  of  property.  In  every  con- 
dition of  trouble  or  tranquillity  be  assured  of  my  constant  esteem 
and  respect. 

TO    MB.    ADAMS. 

MoNTicKLi.o,  March  14,  1820. 

Deah  Sir, — A  continuation  of  poor  health  makes  me  an  ir- 
regular correspondent.  I  am,  therefore,  your  debtor  for  the  two 
letters  of  January  20th  and  February  21st.  It  was  after  you 
left  Europe  that  Dugald  Stuart,  concerning  whom  you  inquire, 
and  Lord  Dare,  second  son  of  the  Marquis  of  Lausdovvn,  came 
to  Paris.  They  brought  me  a  letter  from  Lord  Wycorpbe,  whom 
you  knew.  I  became  immediately  intimate  with  Stuart,  calling 
mutually  on  each  other  and  almost  daily,  during  their  stay  at 
Paris,  which  was  of  some  months.  Lord  Dare  was  a  young  man 
of  imagination,  with  occasional  flashes  indicating  deep  penetra- 
tion, but  of  much  caprice,  and  little  judgment.  He  has  been 
long  dead,  and  the  family  title  is  now,  I  believe,  in  the  third  son, 
who  has  shown  in  Parliament  talents  of  a  superior  order.  Stuart 
is  a  great  man,  and  among  the  most  honest  living.  I  have  heard 
nothing  of  his  dying  at  top,  as  you  suppose.  Mr.  Ticknor,  how- 
ever, can  give  you  the  best  information  on  that  subject,  as  he 


must  have  heard  particularly  of  him  when  in  Edinburgh,  al- 
though I  believe  he  did  not  see  him.  I  have  understood  he  was 
then  in  London  superintending  the  publication  of  a  new  work. 
I  consider  him  and  Tracy  as  the  ablest  metaphysicians  living  ; 
by  which  I  mean  investigators  of  the  thinking  faculty  of  man. 
Stuart  seems  to  have  given  its  natural  history  from  facts  and  ob- 
servations ;  Tracy  its  modes  of  action  and  dedaction,  which  he 
cplls  Logic,  and  Ideology  ;  and  Cabanis,  in  his  Physique  et 
Morale  de  I'Homme,  has  investigated  anatomically,  and  most  in- 
geniously, the  particular  organs  in  the  human  structure  which 
may  most  probably  exercise  that  faculty.  And  they  ask  why 
may  not  the  mode  of  action  called  thought,  have  been  given  to 
a  material  organ  of  peculiar  structure,  as  that  of  magnetism  is  to 
the  needle,  or  of  elasticity  to  the  spring  by  a  particular  manipu- 
lation of  the  steel.  They  observe  that  on  ignition  of  the  needle 
or  spring,  their  magnetism  and  elasticity  cease.  So  on  dissolu- 
tion of  the  material  organ  by  death,  its  action  of  thought  may 
cease  also,  and  that  nobody  supposes  that  the  magnetism  or  elas- 
ticity retire  to  hold  a  substantive  and  distinct  existence.  These 
were  qualities  only  of  particular  conformations  of  matter  ;  change 
the  conformation,  and  its  qualities  change  also.  Mr.  Locke,  you 
know,  and  other  materialists,  have  charged  with  blasphemy  the 
spiritualists  who  have  denied  the  Creator  the  power  of  endowing 
certain  forms  of  matter  with  the  faculty  of  thought.  These, 
however,  are  speculations  and  subtleties  in  Avhich,  for  my  own 
part,  I  have  little  indulged  myself.  When  I  meet  with  a  propo- 
sition beyond  finite  comprehension,  I  abandon  it  as  I  do  a  weight 
which  human  strength  cannot  lift,  and  I  think  ignorance,  in  these 
cases,  is  truly  the  softest  pillow  on  which  I  can  lay  my  head. 
Were  it  necessary,  however,  to  form  an  opinion,  I  confess  I 
should,  with  Mr.  Locke,  prefer  swallowing  one  incomprehensi- 
bility rather  than  two.  It  requires  one  effort  only  to  admit  the 
single  incomprehensibility  of  matter  endowed  with  thought,  and 
two  to  believe,  first  that  of  an  existence  called  spirit,  of  which 
vre  have  neither  evidence  nor  idea,  and  then  secondly  how  that 
spirit,  which  has  neither  extension  nor  solidity,  can  put  material 


organs  into  motion.  These  are  things  which  you  and  I  may 
perhaps  know  ere  long.  We  have  so  lived  as  to  fear  neither 
horn  of  the  dilemma.  We  have,  willingly,  done  injury  to  no 
man  ;  and  have  done  for  our  country  the  good  which  has  fallen 
in  our  way,  so  far  as  commensurate  with  the  faculties  given  us. 
That  we  have  not  done  more  than  we  could,  cannot  be  imputed 
to  us  as  a  crime  before  any  tribunal.  I  look,  therefore,  to  the 
crisis,  as  I  am  sure  you  also  do,  as  one  "  qui  sunimutn  nee  metuii 
diem  nee  optat."  In  the  meantime  be  our  last  as  cordial  as  were 
our  first  affections. 


MoNTiCELLO,  April  5,  1820. 

Sir, — A  near  relation  of  my  late  friend  Governor  Langdon, 
needs  no  apology  for  addressing  a  letter  to  me,  that  relationship 
giving  sufficient  title  to  all  my  respect.  We  were  fellow  labor- 
ers from  the  beginning  of  the  first  to  the  accomplishment  of  the 
second  revolution  in  our  government,  of  the  same  zeal  and  the 
■same  sentiments,  and  I  shall  honor  his  memory  while  memory 
remains  to  me.  The  letter  you  mention  is  proof  of  my  friend- 
ship and  unreserved  confidence  in  him  ;  it  was  written  in  warm 
times,  and  is  therefore  too  warmly  expressed  for  the  more  rec- 
onciled temper  of  the  present  day.  I  must  pray  you,  therefore, 
not  to  let  it  get  before  the  public,  lest  it  rekindle  a  flame  which 
burnt  too  long  and  too  fiercely  against  me.  It  was  my  lot  to  be 
placed  at  the  head  of  the  column  which  made  the  first  breach  in 
the  ramparts  of  federalism,  and  to  be  charged,  on  that  event,  with 
the  duty  of  changing  the  course  of  the  government  from  what 
we  deemed  a  monarchical,  to  its  republican  tack.  This  made 
me  the  mark  for  every  shaft  which  calumny  and  falsehood  could 
point  against  me.  I  bore  them  'with  resignation,  as  one  of  the 
duties  imposed  on  me  by  my  post.  But  I  assure  you  it  was 
among  the  most  painful  duties  from  which  I  hoped  to  find  relief 
in  retirement.  Tranquillity  is  the  summum  honum  of  old  age 
and  ill  health,  and  nothing  could  so  much  disturb  this  with  me 


as  to  awaken  angry  feelings  from  the  slumber  in  which  I  wish 
them  ever  to  remain.  I  beseech  you  then,  good  Sir,  in  the  name 
of  my  departed  friend,  not  to  bring  on  me  a  contention  which 
neither  duty  nor  public  good  require  me  to  encounter. 

I  regret  the  circumstances  which  have  .deprived  us  of  the  pleas- 
ure of  your  visit,  but  console  myself  with  the  French  proverb 
that  "  all  is  not  lost  which  is  deferred,"  and  the  hope  that  more 
favorable  circumstances  will  some  day  give  us  that  gratification. 
I  congratulate  you  on  the  sleep  of  the  Missouri  question.  I  wish 
I  could  say  on  its  death,  but  of  this  I  despair.  The  idea  of  a 
geographical  line  once  suggested  will  brood  in  the  minds  of  all 
those  who  prefer  the  gratification  of  their  .ungovernable  passions 
to  the  peace  and  union  of  their  country.  If  I  do  not  contem- 
plate this  subject  with  pleasure,  I  do  sincerely  that  of  the  inde- 
pendence of  Maine,  and  the  wise  choice  they  have  made  of 
General  King  in  the  agency  of  their  affairs,  and  I  tender  to  your- 
self the  assurance  of  my  esteem  and  respect. 


MoNTicELLo,   April  13,  1820. 

Dear  Sir, — Your  favor  of  March  the  27th  is  received,  and  as 
you  request,  a  copy  of  the  syllabus  is  now  enclosed.  It  was 
originally  written  to  Dr.  Rush.  On  his  death,  fearing  that  the 
inquisition  of  the  public  might  get  hold  of  it,  I  asked  the  return 
of  it  from  the  family,  which  they  kindly  complied  with.  At 
the  request  of  another  friend,  I  had  given  him  a  copy.  He  lent 
it  to  Ids  friend  to  read,  who  copied  it,  and  in  a  few  months  it 
appeared  in  the  Theological  Magazine  of  London.  Happily  that 
repository  is  scarcely  known  in  this  country,  and  the  syllabus, 
therefore,  is  still  a  secret,  and  in  your  hands  I  am  sure  it  will  con- 
tinue so. 

Bat  while  this  syllabus  is  meant  to  place  the  character  of  Jesus 
in  its  true  and  high  light,  as  no  impostor  himself,  but  a  great  re- 
former of  the  Hebrew  code  of  religion,  it  is  not  to  be  understood 


that  I  am  with  him  in  all  his  doctrines.  I  am  a  Materialist ;  he 
takes  the  side  of  Spiritualism  ;  he  preaches  the  efficacy  of  re- 
pentance towards  forgiveness  of  sin  ;  I  require  a  counterpoise  of 
good  works  to  redeem  it,  &c.,  &c.  It  is  the  innocence  of  his 
character,  the  purity  and  sublimity  of  his  moral  precepts,  the 
eloquence  of  his  inculcations,  the  beauty  of  the  apologues  in 
which  he  conveys  them,  that  I  so  much  admire  ;  sometimes,  in- 
deed, needing  indulgence  to  eastern  hyperbolism.  My  eulogies, 
too,  may  be  founded  on  a  postulate  which  all  may  not  be  ready 
to  grant.  Among  the  sayings  and  discourses  imputed  to  him  by 
his  biographers,  I  find  many  passages  of  fine  imagination,  correct 
morality,  and  of  the  most  lovely  benevolence  ;  and  others,  again, 
of  so  much  ignorance,  so  much  absurdity,  so  much  untruth, 
charlatanism  and  imposture,  as  to  pronounce  it  impossible  that 
such  contradictions  should  have  proceeded  from  the  same  being. 
I  separate,  therefore,  the  gold  from  the  dross  ;  restore  to  him  the 
former,  and  leave  the  latter  to  the  stupidity  of  some,  and  roguery 
of  others  of  his  disciples.  Of  this  band  of  dupes  and  impostors, 
Paul  was  the  great  Coryphasus,  and  first  corrupter  of  the  doc- 
trines of  Jesus.  These  palpable  interpolations  and  falsifications 
of  his  doctrines,  led  me  to  try  to  sift  them  apart.  I  found  the 
work  obvious  and  easy,  and  that  his  part  composed  the  most  beau- 
tiful morsel  of  morality  which  has  been  given  to  us  by  man. 
The  syllabus  is  therefore  of  his  doctrines,  not  all  of  mine.  I  read 
them  as  I  do  those  of  other  ancient  and  modern  moralists,  with 
a  mixture  of  approbation  and  dissent. 

I  rejoice,  with  you,  to  see  an  encouraging  spirit  of  internal  im- 
provement prevailing  in  the  States.  The  opinion  I  have  ever 
expressed  of  the  advantages  of  a  western  communication  through 
the  James  river,  I  still  entertain  ;  and  that  the  Cayuga  is  the 
most  promising  of  the  links  of  communication. 

The  history  of  our  University  you  know  so  far.  Seven  of  the 
ten  jiavilions  destined  for  the  professors,  and  ^bout  thirty  dormi- 
tories, will  he  completed  this  year,  and  three  other,  with  six 
hotels  for  boarding,  and  seventy  other  dormitories,  will  be  com- 
pleted' the  next  year,  and  the  whole  be  in  readiness  then  to  re- 


ceive  those  who  are  to  occupy  them.  Bat  means  to  bring  these 
into  place,  and  to  set  the  machine  into  motion,  must  come  from 
the  legislature.  An  opposition,  in  the  meantime,  has  been  got 
up.  That  of  our  alma  mater,  William  and  Mary,  is  not  of  much 
weight.  She  must  descend  into  the  secondary  rank  of  academies 
of  preparation  for  the  University.  The  serious  enemies  are  the 
priests  of  the  different  religious  sects,  to  whose  spells  on  the  hu- 
man mind  its  improvement  is  ominous.  Their  pulpits  are  now 
resounding  with  denunciations  against  the  appointment  of  Doctor 
Cooper,  whom  they  charge  as  a  monotheist  in  opposition  to  their 
tritheism.  Hostile  as  these  sects  are,  in  every  other  point,  to  one 
another,  they  unite  in  maintaining  their  mystical  theogony  against 
those  who  believe  there  is  one  God  only.  The  Presbyterian 
clergy  are  loudest ;  the  most  intolerant  of  all  sects,  the  most  ty- 
rannical and  ambitious  ;  ready  at  the  word  of  the  lawgiver,  if 
such  a  word  could  be  now  obtained,  to  put  the  torch  to  the  pile, 
and  to  rekindle  in  this  virgin  hemisphere,  the  flames  in  which 
their  oracle  Calvin  consumed  the  poor  Servetus,  because  he  could 
not  find  in  his  Euclid  the  proposition  which  has  demonstrated 
that  three  are  one  and  one  is  three,  nor  subscribe  to  that  of  Cal- 
vin, that  magistrates  have  a  right  to  exterminate  all  heretics  to 
Calvinistic  Creed.  They  pant  to  re-establish,  by  law,  that  holy 
inquisition,  which  they  can  now  only  infuse  into  public  opinion. 
We  have  most  unwisely  committed  to  the  hierophants  of  our  par- 
ticular superstition,  the  direction  of  public  opinion,  that  lord  of 
the  universe.  We  have  given  them  stated  and  privileged  days 
to  collect  and  catechise  us,  opportunities  of  delivering  their  ora- 
cles to  the  people  in  mass,  and  of  moulding  their  minds  as  wax 
in  the  hollow  of  their  hands.  But  in  despite  of  their  fulmina- 
tions  against  endeavors  to  enlighten  the  general  mind,  to  improve 
the  reason  of  the  people,  and  encourage  them  in  the  use  of  it,  the 
liberality  of  this  State  will  support  this  institution,  and  give  fair 
play  to  the  cultivation  of  reason.  Can  you  ever  find  a  more 
eligible  occasion  of  visiting  once  more  your  native  country,  than 
that  of  accompanying  Mr.  Correa,  and  of  seeing  with  him  this 
beautiful  and  hopeful  institution  in  ovo  ? 


Although  I  had  laid  down  as  a  law  to  myself,  never  to  write 
talk,  or  even  think  of  politics,  to  know  nothing  of  public  affairs^ 
and  therefore  had  ceased  to  read  newspapers,  yet  the  Missouri 
question  aroused  and  iiiled  me  Avith  alarm.  The  old  schism  of 
federal  and  republican  threatened  nothing,  because  it  existed  in 
every  State,  and  united  them  together  by  the  fraternism  of 
party.  But  the  coincidence  of  a  marked  principle,  moral  and 
political,  with  a  geographical  line,  once  conceived,  I  feared  would 
never  more  be  obliterated  from  the  mind ;  that  it  would  be  re- 
curring on  every  occasion  and  renewing  irritations,  until  it  would 
kindle  such  mutual  and  mortal  hatred,  as  to  render  separation 
preferable  to  eternal  discord.  I  have  been  among  the  most  san- 
guine in  believing  that  our  Union  would  be  of  long  duration.  I 
now  doubt  it  mucM,  and  see  the  event  at  no  great  distance, 
and  the  direct  consequence  of  this  question ;  not  by  the  line 
which  has  been  so  confidently  counted  on ;  the  laws  of  nature 
control  this ;  but  by  the  Potomac,  Ohio  and  Missouri,  or  more 
probably,  the  Mississippi  upwards  to  our  northern  boundary.  My 
only  comfort  and  confidence  is,  that  I  shall  not  live  to  see  this ; 
and  I  envy  not  the  present  generation  the  glory  of  throwing 
away  the  fruits  of  their  fathers'  sacrifices  of  life  and  fortune,  and 
of  rendering  desperate  the  experiment  which  was  to  decide  ulti- 
mately whether  man  is  capable  of  self-government  ?  This  trea- 
son against  human  hope,  will  signalize  their  epoch  in  future  his- 
tory, as  the  counterpart  of  the  medal  of  their  predecessors. 

You  kindly  inquire  after  my  health.  There  is  nothing  in  it 
immediately  threatening,  but  swelled  legs,  which  are  kept  down 
mechanically,  by  bandages  from  the  toe  to  the  knee.  These  I 
have  worn  for  six  months.  But  the  tendency  to  turgidity  may 
proceed  from  debility  alone.  I  can  walk  the  round  of  my  gar- 
den ;  not  more.  But  I  ride  six  or  eight  miles  a  day  without 
fatigue.  I  shall .  set  out  for  Poplar  Forest  within  three  or  four 
days ;  a  journey  from  which  my  physician  augurs  much  good. 

I  salute  you  with  constant  and  affectionate  friendship  and  re- 



MosTiCELLo,  April  22,  1S20. 

I  thank  you,  dear  Sir,  for  the  copy  you  have  been  so  kind  as 
to  send  me  of  the  letter  to  your  constituents  on  the  Missouri 
question.  It  is  a  perfect  justification  to  them.  I  had  for  a  long 
time  ceased  to  read  newspapers,  or  pay  any  attention  to  public 
affairs,  confident  they  were  in  good  hands,  and  content  to  be  a 
passenger  in  our  bark  to  the  shore  from  which  I  am  not  distant. 
But  this  momentous  question,  like  a  fire  bell  in  the  night, 
awakened  and  filled  me  with  terror.  I  considered  it  at  once  as 
the  knell  of  the  Union.  It  is  hushed,  indeed,  for  the  moment. 
But  this  is  a  reprieve  only,  not  a  final  sentence.  A  geographical 
line,  coinciding  with  a  marked  principle,  moral  and  political, 
once  conceived  and  held  up  to  the  angry  passions  of  men,  will 
never  be  obliterated ;  and  every  new  irritation  will  mark  it  deep- 
er and  deeper.  /I  can  say,  with  conscious  truth,  that  there  is  not 
a  man  on  earth  who  would  sacrifice  more  than  I  would  to  relieve 
us  from  this  heavy  reproach,  in  any  practicable  way.  The  ces- 
sion of  that  kind  of  property,  for  so  it  is  misnamed,  is  a  bagatelle 
which  would  not  cost  me  a  second  thought,  if,  in  that  way,  a 
general  emancipation  and  expatriation  could  be  effected ;  and 
gradually,  and  with  due  sacrifices,  I  think  it  might  be.  But  as 
it  is,  we  have  the  wolf  by  the  ears,  and  we  can  neither  hold 
him,  nor  safely  let  him  go.  Justice  is  in  one  scale,  and  self-pres- 
ervation in  the  other.  Of  one  thing  I  am  certain,  that  as  the 
passage  of  slaves  from  one  State  to  another,  would  not  make  a 
slave  of  a  single  human  being  who  would  not  be  so  without  it, 
so  their  diffusion  over  a  greater  surface  would  make  them  indi- 
vidually happier,  and  proportionally  facilitate  the  accomplish- 
ment of  their  emancipation,  by  dividing  the  burthen  on  a  greater 
number  of  coadjutors.  An  abstinence  too,  from  this  act  of  pow- 
er, would  remove  the  jealousy  excited  by  the  undertaking  of 
Congress  to  regulate  the  condition  of  the  different  descriptions 
of  men  composing  a  St^te.  This  certainly  is  the  exclusive 
right  of  every  State,  which  nothing  in  the  constitution  has  taken 


from  them  and  given  to  the  General  Government.  Could  Con- 
gress, for  example,  say,  that  the  non-freemen  of  Connecticut 
shall  be  freemen,  or  that  they  shall  not  emigrate  into  any  other 
State  ? 

I  regret  that  I  am  now  to  die  in  the  belief,  that  the  useless 
sacrifice  of  themselves  by  the  generation  of  1776,  to  acquire  self- 
government  and  happiness  to  their  country,  is  to  be  thrown  away 
by  the  unwise  and  unworthy  passions  of  their  sons,  and  that  my 
only  consolation  is  to  be,  that  I  live  not  to  weep  over  it.  If  they 
would  but  dispassionately  weigh  the  blessings  they  will  throw 
away,  against  an  abstract  principle  more  likely  to  be  eflected  by 
union  than  by  scission,  they  would  pause  befoje  they  would  per- 
petrate this  act  of  suicide  on  themselves,  and  of.  treason  against 
the  hopes  of  the  world.  To  yourself,  as  the  faithful  advocate  of 
the  Union,  I  tender  the  offering  of  my  high  esteem  and  respect. 


Mo.NTicKLLO,  May  14,  1820. 

Deak  Sir, — Your  favor  of  the  3d  is  received,  and  always  with 
welcome.  These  texts  of  truth  relieve  me  from  the  floating 
falsehoods  of  the  public  papers.  I  confess  to  yoQ  I  am  not  sorry 
for  the  non-ratification  of  the  Spanish  treaty.  Our  assent  to  it 
has  proved  our  desire  to  be  on  friendly  terms  with  Spain  ;  their 
dissent,  the  imbecility  and  malignity  of  their  government  towards 
us,  have  placed  them  in  the  wrong  in  the  eyes  of  the  world,  and 
that  is  well ;  but  to  us  the  province  of  Techas  will  be  the  richest 
State  of  our  Union,  without  any  exception.  Its  southern  part 
will  make  more  sugar  than  we  can  consume,  and  the  Red  river, 
on  its  north,  is  the  most  luxuriant  country  on  earth.  Florida, 
moreover,  is  ours.  Every  nation  in  Europe  considers  it  such  a 
right.  We  need  not  care  for  its  occupation  in  time  of  peace,  and, 
in  war,  the  first  cannon  makes  it  ours  without  offence  to  anybody. 
The  friendly  advisements,  too,  of  Russia  and  France,  as  well  as 
the  change  of  government  in  Spain,  now  ensured,  require  a  fur- 


ther  and  respectful  forbearance.  While  their  request  will  rebut 
the  plea  of  prescriptive  possession,  it  will  give  us  a  right  to  iheir 
approbation  when  taken  in  the  maturity  of  circumstances.  I 
really  think,  too,  that  neither  the  state  of  our  finances,  the  con- 
dition of  our  country,  nor  the  public  opinion,  urges  us  to  precipi- 
tation into  war.  The  treaty  has  had  the  valuable  effect  of 
strengthening  our  title  to  the  Techas,  because  the  cession  of  the 
Floridas  in  exchange  for  Techas  imports  an  acknowledgment 
of  our  right  to  it.  This  province  moreover,  the  Floridas  and 
possibly  Cuba,  will  join  us  on  the  acknowledgment  of  their  inde- 
pendence, a  measure  to  which  thoir  new  governiifient  will  proba- 
bly accede  voluntarily.  But  why  should  I  be  saying  ail  this  to 
you,  whose  mind  all  the  circumstances  of  this  affair  have  had 
possession  for  years  ?  I  shall  rejoice  to  see  you  here  ;  and  were 
I  to  live  to  see  you  here  finally,  it  would  be  a  day  of  jubilee. 
But  our  days  are  all  numbered,  and  mine  are  not  many.  God 
bless  you  and  preserve  you  micchos  anos 


MoNTiCELLO,  May  16,  1820. 

Dear  Sir, — We  regretted  much  your  absence  at  the  late  meet- 
ing of  the  Board  of  Visitors,  but  did  not  doubt  it  was  occasioned 
by  uncontrollable  circumstances.  As  the  matters  which  came  be- 
fore us  were  of  great  importance  to  the  institution,  I  think  it  a 
duty  to  inform  you  of  them. 

You  know  the  sanction  of  the  legislature  to  our  borrowing 
$60,000  on  the  pledge  of  our  annuity  of  $15,000.  The  Litera- 
ry Board  offered  us  |40,000  on  that  pledge,  to  be  repaid  at  five 
instalments,  commencing  at  the  end  of  the  third  year  from  the 
date  of  the  loan,  and  interest  to  be  regularly  paid  in  the  mean- 
time. We  endeavored  to  obtain  permission  to  draw  for  only 
|15,000  at  first,  and  for  |3,000  monthly  afterwards,  to  avoid  the 
payment  of  dead  interest.  This  they  declined,  as  bound  them- 
selves to  keep  the  whole  of  their  capital  always  in  a  course  of 

VOL.  VII.  11 


fructification.  We  then  requested  a  postponement  of  the  iistal 
ments  to  the  fourth  instead  of  the  third  year,  with  an  additional 
loan  of  the  further  sum  of  $20,000,  authorized  by  the  law.  To  the 
postponement  they  acceded,  and  we  are  assured  they  will  to  the 
further  loan.  To  explain  to  them  the  urgency  of  this  additional 
year's  postponement,  a  paper  was  laid  before  them  of  which  I 
enclose  you  a  copy,  and  on  which  you  are  now  acting.  Should 
the  legislature  not  help  us  to  the  093,600  there  noted,  the  result 
will  be  that  at  the  end  of  the  next  year  all  the  buildings  will  be 
completed,  (the  library  excepted,)  and  will  then  remain  unoccu- 
pied five  years  longer,  until  our  funds  shall  be  free  for  the  en- 
gagements of  professors.  Should  they,  on  the  other  hand,  give 
this  aid,  our  funds  will  be  free,  at  the  beginning  of  the  next  year, 
and  will  enable  us  to  take  measures  for  procuring  professors  in 
the  course  of  that  summer,  and  to  open  the  University.  We 
were  all  of  opinion  that  we  ought  to  complete  the  buildings  for 
the  ten  professors  contemplated,  as  well  as  accommodations  for 
the  students,  before  opening  the  institution;  for  were  we  to  stop 
at  any  point  short  of  the  full  establishment,  and  open  partially, 
as  our  funds  would  thenceforward  be  absorbed  by  the  professors' 
salaries,  we  should  never  be  able  to  advance  a  step  further,  nor 
to  cover  the  whole  field  of  science  contemplated  by  the  law,  and 
made  the  object  of  our  care  and  duty.  We  thought  it  better, 
therefore,  to  risk  a  delay  of  eight  years  for  a  perfect  establish- 
ment, than  to  begin  earlier  and  go  on  forever  with  a  defective 
one ;  and  we  suppose  it  impossible  that  either  the  legislature,  or 
their  constituents,  should  not  consider  an  immediate  commence- 
ment as  worth  the  sum  necessary  to  procure  it.  You  will  ob- 
serve that  in  the  estimate  enclosed,  no  account  is  taken  of  our 
subscription  monies.  They  are,  in  fact,  too  uncertain  in  their 
collection  to  found  any  necessary  contracts ;  and  we  thought  it 
better  therefore  to  reserve  them  as  a  contingent  fund,  and  a  re- 
source to  cover  miscalculations  and  accidents. 

Another  subject  on  this,  as  on  former  occasions,  gave  us  em- 
barrassment. You  may  have  heard  of  the  hue  and  cry  raised 
from  the  different  pulpits  on  our  appointment  of  Dr.  Cooper, 


whom  they  charge  with  Unitarianism  as  boldly  as  if  they  knew 
the  fact,  and  as  presumptuously  as  if  it  were  a  crime,  and  one 
for  which,  like  Servetus,  he  should  be  burned ;  and  perhaps  yen 
may  have  seen  the  particular  attack  made  on  him  in  the  Evan- 
gelical magazine.  For  myself  I  was  not  disposed  to  regard  the 
denunciations  of  these  satellites  of  religious  inquisition  ;  but  our 
colleagues,  better  judges  of  popular  feeling,  thought  that  they 
were  not  to  be  altogether  neglected ;  and  that  it  might  be  better 
to  relieve  Dr.  Cooper,  ourselves  and  the  institution  from  this 
crusade.  I  had  received  a  letter  from  him  expressing  his  uneasi- 
ness, not  only  for  himself,  but  lest  this  persecution  should  become 
embarrassing  to  the  visitors,  and  injurious  to  the  institution ;  with 
an  offer  to  resign,  if  we  had  the  same  apprehensions.  The  Vis- 
itors, therefore,  desired  the  committee  of  Superintendence  to 
place  him  at  freedom  on  this  subject,  and  to  arrange  with  him 
a  suitable  indemnification.  I  wrote  accordingly  in  answer  to 
his,  and  a  meeting  of  trustees  of  the  college  at  Columbia  hap- 
pening to  take  place  soon  after  his  receipt  of  my  letter,  they 
resolved  unanimously  that  it  should  be  proposed  to,  and  urged  on 
then-  legislature,  to  establish  a  professorship  of  Geology  and  Min- 
eralogy, or  a  professorship  of  law,  with  a  salary  of  f  1,000  a  year 
to  be  given  him,  in  addition  to  that  of  chemistry,  which  is 
$2,000  a  year,  and  to  purchase  his  collection  of  minerals ;  and 
they  have  no  doubt  of  the  legislature's  compliance.  On  the  sub- 
ject of  indemnification,  he  is  contented  with  the  balance  of  the 
f  1,500  we  had  before  agreed  to  give  him,  and  which  he  says 
will  not  more  than  cover  his  actual  losses  of  time  and  expense ; 
he  adds,  "  it  is  right  I  should  acknowledge  the  liberality  of  your 
board  with  thanks.  I  regret  the  storm  that  has  been  raised  on 
my  account ;  for  it  has  separated  me  from  many  fond  hopes  and 
wishes.  Whatever  my  religious  creed  may  be,  and  perhaps  I  do 
not  exactly  know  it  myself,  it  is  pleasure  to  reflect  that  my  con- 
duct has  not  brought,  and  is  not  likely  to  bring,  discredit  to  my 
friends.  Wherever  I  have  been,  it  has  been  my  good  fortune  to 
meet  with,  or  to  make  ardent  and  affectionate  friends.  I  feci 
persuaded  I  should  have  met  with  the  same  lot  in  Yirginia  had  it 


been  my  chance  to  have  settled  there,  as  I  had  hoped  and  ex- 
pected, for  I  think  my  course  of  conduct  is  sufficiently  habitual 
to  count  on  its  effects." 

I  do  sincerely  lament  that  untoward  circumstances  have  brought 
on  us  the  irreparable  loss  of  this  professor,  whom  I  have  looked 
to  as  the  corner-stone  of  our  edifice.  I  know  no  one  who  could 
have  aided  us  so  much  in  forming  the  future  regulations  for  our 
infant  institution ;  and  although  we  may  perhaps  obtain  from 
Europe  equivalents  in  science,  they  can  never  replace  the  ad- 
vantages of  his  experience,  his  knowledge  of  the  character,  habits 
and  manners  of  our  country,  his  identification  with  its  senti- 
ments and  principles,  and  high  reputation  he  has  obtained  in  it 

In  the  hope  of  meeting  you  at  our  fall  visitation,  and  that  you 
will  do  me  the  favor  of  making  this  your  head  quarters,  and  of 
coming  the  day  before,  at  least,  that  we  may  prepare  our  busi- 
ness at  ease,  I  tender  you  the  assurance  of  my  great  esteem  and 


MoNTiOELLO,  August  4,  182C. 

Dear  Sir, — I  owe  you  a  letter  for  your  favor  of  June  the 
29th,  which  was  received  in  due  time  ;  and  there  being  no  sub- 
ject of  the  day,  of  particular  interest,  I  will  make  this  a  supple- 
ment to  mine  of  April  the  13th.  My  aim  in  that  was,  to  justify 
the  character  of  Jesus  against  the  fictions  of  his  pseudo-followers, 
which  have  exposed  him  to  the  inference  of  being  an  impostor. 
For  if  we  could  believe  that  he  really  countenanced  the  follies, 
the  falsehoods,  and  the  charlatanisms  which  his  biographers  fa- 
ther on  him,  and  admit  the  misconstructions,  interpolations,  and 
theorizations  of  the  fathers  of  the  early,  and  fanatics  of  the  latter 
ages,  the  conclusion  would  be  irresistible  by  every  sound  mind, 
that  he  was  an  impostor.  I  give  no  credit  to  their  falsifications 
of  his  actions  and  doctrines,  and  to  rescue  his  character,  the  pos- 
ulate  in  my  letter  asked  only  what  is  granted  in  reading  every 


other  historian.  When  Livy  and  Siculus,  for  example,  tell  us 
things  which  coincide  with  our  experience  of  the  order  of  na- 
ture, we  credit  them  on  their  word,  and  place  their  narrations 
among  the  records  of  credible  history.  But  when  they  tell  us 
of  calves  speaking,  of  statues  sweating  blood,  and  other  things 
against  the  course  of  nature,  we  reject  these  as  fables  not  belong- 
ing to  history.  In  like  manner,  when  an  historian,  speaking  of 
a  character  well  known  and  established  on  satisfactory  testimony, 
imputes  to  it  things  incompatible  with  that  character,  we  reject 
them  without  hesitation,  and  assent  to  that  only  of  which  we 
have  better  evidence.  Had  Plutarch  informed  us  that  Cassar  and 
Cicero  passed  their  whole  lives  in  religious  exercises,  and  absti- 
nence from  the  affairs  of  the  world,  we  should  reject  what  was 
so  inconsistent  with  their  established  characters,  still  crediting 
what  he  relates  in  conformity  with  our  ideas  of  them.  So  again, 
the  superlative  wisdom  of  Socrates  is  testified  by  all  antiquity, 
and  placed  on  ground  not  to  be  questioned.  When,  therefore, 
Plato  puts  into  his  mouth  such  paralogisms,  such  quibbles  on 
words,  and  sophisms  as  a  school  boy  would  be  ashamed  of,  we 
conclude  they  were  the  whimsies  of  Plato's  own  foggy  brain,  and 
acquit  Socrates  of  puerilities  so  unlike  his  character.  (Speaking 
of  Plato,  I  will  add,  that  no  writer,  ancient  or  modern,  has  be- 
wildered the  world  with  more  ignus  fatui,  than  this  renowned 
philosopher,  in  Ethics,  in  Politics,  and  Physics.  In  the  latter,  to 
specify  a  single  example,  compare  his  views  of  the  animal  econ- 
omy, in  his  Timaeus,  with  those  of  Mrs.  Bryan  in  her  Conversa- 
tions on  Chemistry,  and  weigh  the  science  of  the  canonized  phi- 
losopher against  the  good  sense  of  the  unassuming  lady.  But 
Plato's  visions  have  furnished  a  basis  for  endless  systems  of  mys- 
tical theology,  and  he  is  therefore  all  but  adopted  as  a  Christian 
saint.  It  is  surely  time  for  men  to  think  for  themselves,  and  to 
throw  off  the  authority  of  names  so  artificially  magnified.  But 
to  return  from  this  parenthesis.)  I  say,  that  this  free  exercise  of 
reason  is  all  }  ask  for  the  vindication  of  the  character  of  Jesus. 
We  find  in  the  writings  of  his  biographers  matter  of  two  distinct 
descriptions.    First,  a  groundwork  of  vulgar  ignorance,  of  things 


impossible,  of  superstitions,  fanaticisms,  and  fabrications.  Intep^ 
mixed  with  these,  again,  are  subUme  ideas  of  the  Supreme  Being, 
aphorisms,  and  precepts  of  the  purest  morahty  and  benevolence, 
sanctioned  by  a  life  of  humility,  innocence  and  simplicity  of 
manners,  neglect  of  riches,  absence  of  worldly  ambition  and 
honors,  with  an  eloquence  and  persuasiveness  which  have  not 
been  surpassed.  These  could  not  be  inventions  of  the  grovelling 
authors  who  relate  them.  They  are  far  beyond  the  powers  of 
their  feeble  minds.  They  show  that  there  was  a  character,  the 
subject  of  their  history,  whose  splendid  conceptions  were  above 
all  suspicion  of  being  interpolations  from  their  hands.  Can  we 
be  at  a  loss  in  separating  such  materials,  and  ascribing  each  to 
its  genuine  author  ?  The  difference  is  obvious  to  the  eye  and  to 
the  understanding,  and  we  may  read  as  we  ru;i  to  each  his  part ; 
and  I  will  venture  to  affirm,  that  he  who,  as  I  have  done,  will 
undertake  to  winnow  this  grain  from  the  chaff,  will  find  it 
not  to  require  a  moment's  consideration.  The  parts  fall  asunder 
of  themselves,  as  would  those  of  an  image  of  metal  and  clay. 

There  are,  I  acknowledge,  passages  not  free  from  objection, 
which  we  may,  with  probability,  ascribe  to  Jesus  himself;  but 
claiming  indulgence  from  the  circumstances  under  which  he 
acted.  His  object  was  the  reformation  of  some  articles  in  the 
religion  of  the  Jews,  as  taught  by  Moses.  That  sect  had  pre- 
sented for  the  object  of  their  worship,  a  being  of  terrific  charac- 
ter, cruel,  vindictive,  capricious,  and  unjust.  Jesus,  taking  for 
his  type  the  best  qualities  of  the  human  head  and  heart,  wisdom, 
justice,  goodness,  and  adding  to  them  power,  ascribed  all  of 
these,  but  in  infinite  perfection,  to  the  Supreme  Being,  and 
formed  him  really  worthy  of  their  adoration.  Moses  had  either 
not  believed  in  a  future  state  of  existence,  or  had  not  thought  it 
essential  to  be  explicitly  taught  to  his  people.  Jesus  inculcated 
that  doctrine  with  emphasis  and  precision.  Moses  had  bound 
the  Jews  to  many  idle  ceremonies,  mummeries,  and  observances, 
of  no  effect  towards  producing  the  social  utilities  which  consti- 
tute the  essence  of  virtue  ;  Jesus  exposed  their  futility  and  insig- 
nificance.    The  one  instilled  into  his  people  the  most  anti-social 


spi-iit  toward  other  nations  ;  the  other  preached  philanthroi)y  and 
universal  charity  and  benevolence.  The  office  of  reformer  of 
the  superstitions  of  a  nation,  is  ever  dangerous.  Jesus  had  to 
walk  on  the  perilous  confines  of  reason  and  religion  ;  and  a  step 
to  right  or  left  might  place  him  within  the  grasp  of  the  priests 
of  the  superstition,  a  blood-thirsty  race,  as  cruel  and  remorse- 
less as  the  being  whom  they  represented  as  the  family  God  of 
Abraham,  of  Isaac  and  of  Jacob,  and  the  local  God  of  Israel. 
They  were  constantly  laying  snares,  too,  to  entangle  him  in  the 
web  of  the  law.  He  was  justifiable,  therefore,  in  avoiding 
these  by  evasions,  by  sophisms,  by  misconstructions  and  misap- 
plications of  scraps  of  the  prophets,  and  in  defending  himself 
with  these  their  own  weapons,  as  sufficient,  ad  homines,  at  least. 
That  Jesus  did  not  mean  to  impose  himself  on  mankind  as  the 
son  of  God,  physically  speaking,  I  have  been  convinced  by  the 
writings  of  men  more  learned  than  myself  in  that  lore.  But  that 
he  might  conscientiously  believe  himself  inspired  from  above, 
is  very  possible.  The  whole  religion  of  the  Jew,  inculcated  on 
him  from  his  infancy,  was  founded  in  the  belief  of  divine  mspir- 
ation.  The  fumes  of  the  most  disorded  imaginations  were  re- 
corded in  then-  religious  code,  as  special  communications  of  the 
Deity  ;  and  as  it  could  not  but  happen  that,  in  the  com-se  of  ages, 
events  would  now  and  then  turn  up  to  which  some  of  these 
vague  rhapsodies  might  be  accommodated  by  the  aid  of  allegor- 
ies, figures,  types,  and  other  tricks  upon  words,  they  have  not 
only  preserved  their  credit  with  the  Jews  of  all  subsequent  times, 
but  are  the  foundation  of  much  of  the  religions  of  those  who 
have  schismatised  from  them.  Elevated  by  the  enthusiasm  of 
a  warm  and  pure  heart,  conscious  of  the  high  strains  of  an  elo- 
quence which  had  not  been  taught  him,  he  might  readily  mis- 
take the  coruscations  of  his  own  fine  genius  for  inspirations  of 
an  higher  order.  This  belief  carried,  therefore,  no  more  personal 
imputation,  than  the  belief  of  Socrates,  that  himself  was  under 
the  care  and  admonitions  of  a  guardian  Daemon.  And  how 
many  of  our  wisest  men  still  believe  in  the  reaUty  of  these  in- 
spirations, while  ^rfectly  sane  on  all  other  subjects.     Excusing, 


therefore,  on  these  considerations,  those  passages  in  the  gos- 
pels which  seem  to  bear  marks  of  weakness  in  Jesus,  ascribing 
to  him  what  alone  is  consistent  with  the  great  and  pure  charac- 
ter of  which  the  same  writings  furnish  proofs,  and  to  their  proper 
authors  their  own  trivialities  and  imbecilities,  I  think  myself 
authorized  to  conclude  the  purity  and  distinction  of  his  charac- 
ter, in  opposition  to  the  impostures  which  those  authors  would 
fix  upon  him  ;  and  that  the  postulate  of  my  former  letter  is  no 
more  than  is  granted  in  all  other  historical  works. 

Mr.  Correa  is  here,  on  his  farewell  visit  to  us.  He  has  been 
much  pleased  with  the  plan  and  progress  of  our  University,  and 
has  given  some  valuable  hints  to  its  botanical  branch.  He  goes 
to  do,  I  hope,  much  good  in  hi»  new  country ;  the  public  in- 
struction there,  as  I  understand,  being  within  the  department 
destined  for  him.  He  is  not  without  dissatisfaction,  and  reason- 
able dissatisfaction  too,  with  the  piracies  of  Baltimore ;  but  his 
justice  and  friendly  dispositions  will,  I  am  sure,  distinguish  be- 
tween the  iniquities  of  a  few  plunderers,  and  the  sound  principles 
of  our  country  at  large,  and  of  our  government  especially.  From 
many  conversations  with  him,  I  hope  he  sees,  and  will  promote  in 
his  new  situation,  the  advantages  of  a  cordial  fraternization  among 
all  the  American  nations,  and  the  importance  of  their  coalesc- 
ing in  an  American  system  of  policy,  totally  independent  of 
and  unconnected  with  that  of  Europe.  The  day  is  not  distant, 
when  we  may  formally  require  a  meridian  of  partition  through 
the  ocean  which  separates  the  two  hemispheres,  on  the  hither 
side  of  which  no  European  gun  shall  ever  be  heard,  nor  an 
American  on  the  other  ;  and  when,  during  the  rage  of  the  eternal 
wars  of  Europe,  the  lion  and  the  lamb,  within  our  regions, 
shall  lie  down  together  in  peace.  The  excess  of  population  in 
Europe,  and  want  of  room,  render  war,  in  their  opinion,  neces- 
sary to  keep  down  that  excess  of  numbers.  Here,  room  is  abun- 
dant, population  scanty,  and  peace  the  necessary  means  for  pro- 
ducing men,  to  whom  the  redundant  soil  is  offering  the  means 
of  life  and  happiness.  The  principles  of  society  there  and  here, 
thenj  are  radically  different,  and  I  hope  no  American  patriot  will 


ever  lose  sight  of  the  essential  policy  of  interdicting  in  the  seas 
and  territories  of  both  Americas,  the  ferocious  and  sanguinary 
contests  of  Europe.  I  wish  to  see  this  coalition  begun,.  I  am 
earnest  for  an  agreement  with  the  maritime  powers  of  Europe, 
assigning  them  the  task  of  keeping  down  the  piracies  of  their 
seas  and  the  cannibalisms  of  the  African  coasts,  and  to  us,  the 
suppression  of  the  same  enormities  within  our  seas  ;  and  for  this 
purpose,  I  should  rejoice  to  see  the  fleets  of  Brazil  and  the  United 
States  riding  together  as  brethren  of  the  same  family,  and  pur- 
suing the  same  object.  And  indeed  it  would  be  of  happy  augury 
to  begin  at  once  this  concert  of  action  here,  on  the  invitation  of 
either  to  the  other  government,  while  the  way  might  be  ^jrepar- 
ing  for  withdrawing  our  cruisers  from  Europe,  and  preventing 
naval  collisions  there  which  daily  endanger  our  peace. 

**         **         ***         **# 
Accept  assurances  of  the  sincerity  of  my  friendship  and  re- 
spect for  you. 


MoNTiCELLO,  August  14,  1820. 

Deak  Sib, — Yours  of  the  24th  ult.  was  received  in  due  time, 
and  I  shall  rejoice  indeed  if  Mr.  Elliot  and  Mr.  Nulty  are  joined 
to  you  in  the  institution  at  Columbia,  which  now  becomes  of 
immediate  interest  to  me.  Mr.  Stack  has  given  notice  to  his 
first  class  that  he  shall  dismiss  them  on  the  10th  of  the  next 
month,  and  his  mathematical  assistant  also  at  the  same  time, 
being  determined  to  take  only  small  boys  in  future.  My  grand- 
son, Eppes,  is  of  the  first  class ;  and  I  have  proposed  to  his  fa- 
ther to  send  him  to  Columbia,  rather  than  anywhere  northwardly. 
I  am  obliged,  therefore,  to  ask  of  you  by  what  day  he  ought  to 
be  there,  so  as  to  be  at  the  commencement  of  what  they  call  a 
session,  and  to  be  so  good  as  to  do  this  by  the  first  mail,  as  I 
shall  set  out  to  Bedford  within  about  a  fortnight.  He  is  so  far  ad- 
vanced in  Greek  and  Latin  that  he  will  be  able  to  pursue  them  by 
himself  hereafter ;   and  being  between  eighteen  and  nineteen 


years  of  age  he  has  no  time  to  lose.  I  propose  that  he  shall  com- 
mence  immediately  with  the  mathematics  and  natural  philosophy 
to  be  followed  by  astronomy,  chemistry,  mineralogy,  botany, 
natural  history.  It  would  be  time  lost  for  him  to  attend  profess- 
ors of  ethics,  metaphysics,  logic,  &c.  The  first  of  these  may 
be  as  well  acquired  in  the  closet  as  from  living  lectures ;  and 
supposing  the  two  last  to  mean  the  science  of  mind,  the  simple 
reading  of  Locke,  Tracy,  and  Stewart,  will  give  him  as  much 
in  that  branch  as  is  real  science.  A  relation  of  his  (Mr.  Ba- 
ker)  and  classmate  will  go  with  him. 

I  hope  and  believe  you  are  mistaken  in  supposing  the  reign  of 
fanaticism  to  be  on  the  advance.     I  think  it  certainly  declining. 
It  was  first  excited  artificially  by  the  sovereigns  of  Europe  as  an 
engine  of  opposition  to  Bonaparte  and  to  France.     It  rose  to  a 
great  height  there,  and  became  indeed  a  powerful  engine  of 
loyalism,  and  of  support  to  their  governments.     But  that  loyal- 
ism  is  giving  way  to  very  different  dispositions,  and  its  prompter 
fanaticism,  is  vanishing  with  it.     In  the  meantime  it  had  been 
wafted  across  the  Atlantic,  and  chiefly  from  England,  with  their 
other  fashions,  but  it  is  here  also  on  the  wane.    The  ambitious  sect 
of  Presbyterians  indeed,  the   Loyalists   of  our   country,  spare 
no  pains  to  keep  it  up.     But  their  views  of  ascendency  over 
all  other  sects  in  the  United  States  seem  to  excite  alarm  in  all, 
and  to  unite  them  as  against  a  common  and  threatening  enemy. 
And  although  the  Unitarianism  they  impute  to  you  is  heterodoxy 
with  all  of  them,  I  suspect  the  other  sects  will  admit  it  to  their 
alliance  in  order  to  strengthen  the  phalanx  of  opposition  against 
the  enterprises  of  their  more  aspiring  antagonists.      Although 
spiritualism  is  most  prevalent  with  all  these  sects,  yet  with  none 
of  them,  I  presume,  is  materialism  declared  heretical.     Mr.  Locke, 
on  whose  authority  they  often  plume  themselves,  openly  main- 
tained the  materialism  of  the  soul ;  and  charged  with  blasphemy 
those  who  denied  that  it  was  in  the  power  of  an  Almighty  Crea- 
tor to  endow  with  the  faculty  of  thought  any  composition  of 
matter  he  might  think  fit.     The  fathers  of  the  church  of  the 
three  first  centuries  generally,  if  not  universally,  were  material- 


ists,  extending  it  even  to  the  Creator  himself ;  nor  indeed  do  I 
know  exactly  *  in  what  age  of  the  christian  church  the  heresy 
of  spiritualism  was  introduced.  Huet,  in  his  commentai'ies  on 
Origen,t  says,  "  Deus  igitur,  cui  anima  similis  est,  juxta  Origenem, 
reapse  corporalis  est,  sed  graviorum  tantum  ratione  corporum  in- 
corporeus."J  St.  Macari,§  as  speaking  of  angels  says,  "  quam 
vis  enim  suhtilia  sint,  tamen  in  substantia,  forma,  et  figura,  secun- 
dum tenuitatem  naturae  eorum  corpora  sunt  tenuia,  quemadmodum 
et  hoc  corpus  in  substantia  sua  crassum  et  solidum  est."||   St.  Justin 

martyr  says  expressly  "to  6eiov  <fOfiev  eivai  aauuarov,  ovK  Se  eariv  aauaarov." 

Tertullian's  words  are,  "  quid  euim  Deus  nisi  corpus  ?"  and 
again,  "  quis  autem  negabit  Deuni  esse  corpus  ?  et  si  deus  spiritus, 
spiritus  etiam  corpus  est  sui  generis,  in  sua  effigie,"  and  that  the 
soul  is  matter  he  adduces  the  following  tangible  proof :  "in  ipso 
ultimo  voluptatis  aestu,  quo  genitale  vii'us  expellitur,  nonne  ali- 
quid  de  anima  sentimus  exire  ?"![  The  holy  father  thus  assert- 
ing, and,  as  it  would  seem,  from  his  own  feelings,  that  the  sperm 
infused  into  the  female  matrix  deposits  there  the  matter  and 
germ  of  both  soul  and  body,  conjunctim,  of  the  new  foetus.  Al- 
though I  do  not  pretend  to  be  familiar  with  these  fathers,  and 
give  the  preceding  quotations  at  second  hand,  yet  I  learn  from 
authors  whom  I  respect,  that  not  only  those  I  have  named,  but 
St.  Augustin,**  St.  Basil,  Lactantius,  Tatian,  Athenagoras,  and 
others,  concurred  in  ■  the  materiality  of  the  soul.  Our  modern 
doctors  would  hardly  ventm-e  or  wish  to  condemn  theii'  fathers  as 
heretics,  the  main  pillars  of  theii-  fabric  resting  on  their  shoulders. 

In  the  consultations  of  the  visitors  of  the  university  on  the  sub- 
ject of  releasing  you  from  yom-  engagement  with  us,  although 
one  or  two  members  seemed  alarmed  at  this  cry  of  "  fire"  from 
the  Presbyterian  pulpits,  yet  the  real  ground  of  our  decision  was 
that  our  funds  were  in  fact  hypotheticated  for  five  or  six  years 
to  redeem  the  loan  we  had  reluctantly  made  ;  and  although  we 

*  I  believe  by  Athenasius  and  the  council  of  !Kicea. 

f  Ocellua  de  d'Argens,  p.  9t.  J  Enfield,  vi.  3.  §  lb.  105. 

i  Timseus,  l"?.    Enfield,  vi.  8.  T  Hist,  des  Saints,  2  c.  4  p.  212,  215. 

**  Ocellus,  90. 


hoped  and  trusted  that  the  ensuing  legislature  would  remit  the 
debt  and  liberate  our  funds,  yet  it  was  not  just,  on  this  possi- 
bility, to  stand  in  the  way  of  your  looking  out  for  a  more  certain 
provision.  The  completing  all  our  buildings  for  professors  and 
students  by  the  autumn  of  the  ensuing  year,  is  now  secured  by 
sufficient  contracts,  and  our  confidence  is  most  strong  that  nei- 
ther the  State  nor  their  legislature  will  bear  to  see  those  buildings 
shut  up  for  five  or  six  years,  when  they  have  the  money  in  hand, 
■ind  actually  appropriated  to  the  object  of  education,  which  would 
open  their  doors  at  once  for  the  reception  of  their  sons,  now 
waiting  and  calling  aloud  for  that  institution.  The  legislature 
meets  on  the  1st  Monday  of  December,  and  before  Christmas  we 
shall  know  what  are  their  intentions.  If  such  as  we  expect,  we 
shall  then  immediately  take  measures  to  engage  our  professors 
and  bring  them  into  place  the  ensuing  autumn  or  early  winter. 
My  hope  is  that  you  will  be  able  and  willing  to  keep  yourself 
uncommitted,  to  take  your  place  among  them  about  that  time  ; 
and  I  can  assure  you  there  is  not  a  voice  among  us  which  will 
not  be  cordially  given  for  it.  I  think,  too,  I  may  add,  that  if  the 
Presbyterian  opposition  should  not  die  by  that  time,  it  will  be 
directed  at  once  against  the  whole  institution,  and  not  amuse  it- 
self with  nibbling  at  a  single  object.  It  did  that  only  because 
there  was  no  other,  and  they  might  think  it  politic  to  mask  their 
designs  on  the  body  of  the  fortress,  under  the of  a  bat- 
tery against  a  single  bastion.  I  will  not  despair  then  of  the 
avail  of  your  services  in  an  establishment  which  I  contemplate 
as  the  future  bulwark  of  the  human  mind  in  this  hemisphere. 
God  bless  you  and  preserve  you  multos  annos.     - 


MoNTicELLo,  August  15,  1820. 

I  am  a  great  defaulter,  my  dear  Sir,  jn  our  correspondence, 
but  prostrate  health  rarely  permits  me  to  write;  and  when  it 
does,  matters  of  business  imperiously  press  their  claims.     I  am 


getting  tetter  however,  slowly,  swelled  legs  being  now  the  only 
serious  symptom,  and  these,  I  believe,  proceed  from  extreme  de- 
bility. I  can  walk  but  little ;  but  I  ride  six  or  eight  miles  a  day 
without  fatigue ;  and  within  a  few  days,  I  shall  endeavor  to  visit 
my  other  home,  after  a  twelvemonth's  absence  from  it.  Our 
University,  four  miles  distant,  gives  me  frequent  exercise,  and 
the  oftener,  as  I  direct  its  architecture.  Its  plan  is  unique,  and 
it  is  becoming  an  object  of  curiosity  for  the  traveller.  I  have 
lately  had  an  opportunity  of  reading  a  critique  on  this  institution 
in  yom"  North  American  Rteview  of  January  last,  having  been 
not  without  anxiety  to  see  what  that  able  work  would  say  of 
us ;  and  I  was  relieved  on  finding  in  it  much  coincidence  of 
opinion,  and  even  where  criticisms  were  indulged,  I  found  they 
would  have  been  obviated  had  the  developments  of  our  plan 
been  fuller.  But  these  were  restrained  by  the  character  of  the 
paper  reviewed,  being  merely  a  report  of  outlines,  not  a  detailed 
treatise,  and  addressed  to  a  legislative  body,  not  to  a  learned 
academy.  For  example,  as  an  inducement  to  introduce  the 
Anglo-Saxon  into  our  plan,  it  was  said  that  it  would  reward 
amply  the  few  weeks  of  attention  which  alone  would  be  requisite 
for  its  attainment ;  leaving  both  term  and  degree  under  an  inde- 
finite expression,  because  I  know  that  not  much  time  is  neces- 
sary to  attain  it  to  an  useful  degree,  sufficient  to  give  such  in- 
struction in  the  etymologies  of  our  language  as  may  satisfy  or- 
dinai-y  students,  while  more  time  would  be  requisite  for  those 
who  should  propose  to  attain  a  critical  knowledge  of  it.  In  a 
letter  which  I  had  occasion  to  write  to  Mi-.  Crofts,  who  sent  you, 
I  believe,  as  well  as  myself,  a  copy  of  his  ti-eatise  on  the  English 
and  German  languages,  as  preliminary  to  an  etymological  dic- 
tionary he  meditated,  I  went  into  explanations  with  him  of  an 
easy  process  for  simplifying  the  study  of  the  Anglo-Saxon,  and 
lessening  the  terrors  and  difficulties  presented  by  its  rude  alpha- 
bet, and  unformed  orthography.  But  this  is  a  subject  beyond 
the  bounds  of  a  letter,  as  it  was  beyond  the  bounds  of  a  report 
to  the  legislatiu-e.  Mi.  Crofts  died,  I  believe,  before  any  pro- 
gress was  made  in  the  work  he  had  projected. 


The  reviewer  expresses  doubt,  rather  than  decision,  on  oiu 
placing  military  and  naval  architecture  in  the  department  of  pure 
mathematics.  Military  architecture  embraces  fortification  and 
fieldworks,  which,  with  their  bastions,  curtains,  hornworks,  re- 
doubts, (fcc,  are  based  on  a  technical  combination  of  lines  and 
angles.  These  are  adapted  to  offence  and  defence,  with  and 
against  the  effects  of  bombs,  balls,  escalades,  &c.  But  lines  and 
angles  make  the  sum  of  elementary  geometry,  a  branch  of  pure 
mathematics ;  and  the  direction  of  the  bombs,  balls,  and  other 
projectiles,  the  necessary  appendages  of  military  works,  although 
no  part  of  their  architecture,  belong  to  the  conic  sections,  a 
branch  of  transcendental  geometry.  Diderot  and  D'Alembert, 
therefore,  in  their  Arbor  scientice,  have  placed  military  archi- 
tecture in  the  department  of  elementary  geometry.  Naval  archi- 
tecture teaches  the  best  form  and  construction  of  vessels;  for 
which  best  form  it  has  recom'se  to  the  question  of  the  solid  of 
least  resistance  ;  a  problem  of  transcendental  geometry.  And  its 
appurtenant  projectiles  belong  to  the  same  branch,  as  in  the  pre- 
ceding case.  It  is  true,  that  so  far  as  respects  the  action  of  the 
water  on  the  rudder  and  oars,  and  of  the  wind  on  the  sails,  it 
may  be  placed  in  the  department  of  mechanics,  as  Diderot  and 
D'Alembert  have  done  ;  but  belonging  quite  as  much  to  geom- 
etry,, and  allied  in  its  military  character  to  military  architecture, 
it  simj)lified  our  plan  to  place  both  under  the  same  head.  These 
views  are  so  obvious,  that  I  am  sure  they  would  have  required 
but  a  second  thought,  to  reconcile  the  reviewer  to  their  location 
under  the  head  of  pure  mathematics.  For  this  word  location, 
see  Bailey,  Johnson,  Sheridan,  Walker,  «fec.  But  if  dictionaries 
are  to  be  the  arbiters  of  language,  in  which  of  them  shall  we  find 
neologism.  No  matter.  It  is  a  good  word,  well  sounding,  ob- 
vious, and  expresses  an  idea,  which  would  otherwise  require  cir- 
cumlocution. The  reviewer  was  justifiable,  therefore,  in  using 
it ;  although  he  noted  at  the  same  time,  as  unauthoritative,  cen- 
trality,  grade,  sparse  ;  all  which  have  been  long  used  in  common 
speech  and  writing.  I  am  a  friend  to  neology.  It  is  the  only 
way  to  give  to  a  language  copiousness  and  euphony.     Without 


it  we  should  still  be  held  to  the  vocabulary  of  Alfred  or  of  Ul- 
philas ;  and  held  to  their  state  of  science  also  :  for  I  am  sure  they 
had  no  words  which  could  have  conveyed  the  ideas  of  oxygen, 
cotyledons,  zoophytes,  magnetism,  electricity,  hyaline,  and  thou- 
sands of  others  expressing  ideas  not  then  existing,  nor  of  possible 
communication  in  the  state  of  their  language.  What  a  language 
has  the  French  become  since  the  date  of  their  revolution,  by  the 
free  introduction  of  new  words !  The  most  copious  and  eloquent 
in  the  living  world ;  and  equal  to  the  Greek,  had  not  that  been 
regularly  modifiable  almost  ad  infinitum.  Theii'  rule  was,  that 
whenever  their  language  furnished  or  adopted  a  root,  all  its 
branches,  in  every  part  of  speech,  were  legitimated  by  giving 
them  their  appropriate  terminations.     ASeKtfo?,  adeltfrj,  aSeXq^tdwi-, 

«(5fi(j/0T);ff,    o(5fAgri.5if ,    adelrfidug,   aSsi-cpixog,   aSeXqji'Qai,   aSf).(ptyoi;.       And 

this  should  be  the  law  of  every  language.  Thus,  having  adopted 
the  ad]ective  fraternal,  it  is  a  root  which  should  legitimate  fra- 
ternity,  fraternation,  fraternisation,  fraternism,  to  fraternate, 
fraternise,  fraternally.  And  give  the  word  neologism  to  our 
language,  as  a  root,  and  it  should  give  us  its  fellow  substantives, 
neology,  neologist,  neologisation  ;  its  adjectives,  neologous,  neolo- 
gical,  neologistical ;  its  verb,  neologise  ;  and  adverb,  neologically. 
Dictionaries  are  but  the  depositories  of  words  already  legitimated 
by  usage.  Society  is  the  workshop  in  which  new  ones  are 
elaborated.  When  an  individual  uses  a  new  word,  if  ill  formed, 
it  is  rejected  in  society  ;  if  well  formed,  adopted,  and  after  due 
time,  laid  up  in  the  depository  of  dictionaries.  And  if,  in  this 
process  of  sound  neologisation,  our  trans-Atlantic  brethren  shall 
not  choose  to  accompany  us,  we  may  furnish,  after  the  lonians,  a 
second  example  of  a  colonial  dialect  improving  on  its  primitive. 
But  enough  of  criticism :  let  me  turn  to  your  puzzling  letter  of 
May  the  12th,  on  matter,  spirit,  motion,  &c.  Its  crowd  of  scep- 
ticisms kept  mo.  from  sleep.  I  read  it,  and  laid  it  down  ;  read  it, 
and  laid  it  down,  again  and  again  ;  and  to  give  rest  to  my  mind, 
I  was  obliged  to  recur  ultimately  to  my  habitual  anodyne,  "  I  feel, 
therefore  I  exist."  I  feel  bodies  which  are  not  myself:  there  are 
other  existences  then.     I  call  them  matter.     I  feel  them  chang- 


ing  place.  This  gives  me  motion.  Where  there  is  an  absence 
of  matter,  I  call  it  void,  or  nothing,  or  immaterial  space.  On  the 
basis  of  sensation,  of  matter  and  motion,  we  may  erect  the  fabric 
of  all  the  certainties  we  can  have  or  need.  I  can  conceive  thought 
to  be  an  action  of  a  particular  organization  of  matter,  formed  for 
that  purpose  by  its  creator,  as  well  as  that  attraction  is  an  action 
of  matter,  or  magnetism,  of  loadstone.  When  he  who  denies  to 
the  Creator  the  power  of  endowing  matter  with  the  mode  of  ac- 
tion called  thinking,  shall  show  how  he  could  endow  the  sun 
with  the  mode  of  action  called  attraction,  which  reins  the  planets 
in  the  track  of  their  orbits,  or  how  an  absence  of  matter  can  have 
a  will,  and  by  that  will  put  matter  into  motion,  then  the  Materi- 
alist may  be  lawfully  required  to  explain  the  process  by  which 
matter  exercises  the  faculty  of  thinking.  When  once  we  quit 
the  basis  of  sensation,  all  is  in  the  wind.  To  talk  of  immaterial 
existences,  is  to  talk  of  nothings.  To  say  that  the  human  soul, 
angels,  God,  are  immaterial,  is  to  say,  they  are  nothings,  or  that 
there  is  no  God,  no  angels,  no  soul.  I  cannot  reason  otherwise  : 
but  I  believe  I  am  supported  in  my  creed  of  materialism  by  the 
Lockes,  the  Tracys,  and  the  Stewarts.  At  what  age*  of  the 
Christian  church  this  heresy  of  immaterialism,  or  masked  athe- 
ism, crept  in,  I  do  not  exactly  know.  But  a  heresy  it  certainly 
is.  Jesus  taught  nothing  of  it.  He  told  us,  indeed,  that  "  God 
is  a  spirit,"  but  he  has  not  defined  what  a  spirit  is,  nor  said  that 
it  is  not  matter.  And  the  ancient  fathers  generally,  of  the  three 
first  centuries,  held  it  to  be  matter,  light  and  thin  indeed,  an 
etherial  gas ;  but  still  matter.  Origen  says,  "  Deus  se  ipse  cor- 
poralis  est ;  sed  graviorum  tantum  corporum  ratione,  incorporeus." 
TertuUian,  "  quid  enim  deus  nisi  corpus  ?"  And  again,  "  quis 
negabit  deum  esse  corpus  ?  Etsi  deus  spiritus,  spiritus  etiam 
corpus  est,  sui  generis  in  sua  eifigie."     St.  Justin  Martyr,  "  ro 

•i^EiOv  cpufisy  Biviti  ugwfxuiop'  6«  ^OTt  ugbi^ajov — enetdrj  ds  rojutj  xouTS^adai 
ino    Tivog   ta  xg(xTetg&ai,  TtfiiaizSQOi'  sqi  dtu  raro   k«A8|U6»'  uvtop  agtM/Autoy." 

And  St.  Macarius,  speaking  of  angels,  says,  "  quamvis  enim  sub- 

tilia  sint,  tamen  in  substantia,  forma  et  figurS,  secundum  tenui- 

*  That  of  Athanasius  and  the  Coianoil  of  Nicsea,  anno.  324. 


tatem  naturae  eorum,  corpora  sunt  tenuia."  And  St.  Austin, 
St.  Basil,  Lactantius,  Tatian,  Athenagoras  and  others,  with  whose 
writings  I  pretend  not  a  familiarity,  are  said  by  those  who  are 
better  acquainted  with  them,  to  deliver  the  same  doctrine,  (En- 
field X.  3,  1.)  Tiurn  to  your  Ocellus  d'Argens,  97,  105,  and  to 
his  Timaeus  17,  for  these  quotations.  In  England,  these  Imma- 
terialists  might  have  been  burnt  until  the  29  Car.  2,  when  the 
writ  de  hcuretico  comhurendo  was  abolished  ;  and  here  imtil  the 
Revolution,  that  statute  not  having  extended  to  us.  All  heresies 
being  now  done  away  with  us,  these  schismatists  are  merely 
atheists,  differing  from  the  material  atheist  only  in  their  belief, 
that  "  nothing  made  something,"  and  from  the  material  deist, 
who  believes  that  matter  alone  can  operate  on  matter. 

Rejecting  all  organs  of  information,  therefore,  but  my  senses, 
I  rid  myself  of  the  pyrrhonisms  with  which  an  indulgence  in  spe- 
culations hyperphysical  and  antiphysical,  so  uselessly  occupy  and 
disquiet  the  mind.  A  single  sense  may  indeed  be  sometimes 
deceived,  but  rarely ;  and  never  all  our  senses  together,  with  their 
faculty  of  reasoning.  They  evidence  realities,  and  there  are 
enough  of  these  for  all  the  purposes  of  life,  without  plunging  into 
the  fathomless  abyss  of  dreams  and  phantasms.  I  am  satisfied, 
and  sufiiciently  occupied  with  the  things  which  are,  without  tor- 
menting or  troubling  myself  about  those  which  may  indeed  be, 
but  of  which  I  have  no  evidence.  I  am  sure  that  I  reallj''  know 
many,  many  things,  and  none  more  surely  than  that  I  love  you 
with  all  my  heart,  and  pray  for  the  continuance  of  youi-  life  until 
you  shall  be  tired  of  it  yourself. 

TO    MR.    JABVIS. 

MoNTiOELLO,  September  28,  1820. 

I  thank  you.  Sir,  for  the  copy  of  your  Republican  which  you 
have  been  so  kind  as  to  send  me,  and  I  should  have  acknowl- 
edged it  sooner  but  that  I  am  just  returned  home  after  a  long 
absence.     I  have  not  yet  had  time  to  read  it  seriously,  but  in 

VOL.  VII.  12 


looking  over  it  cursorily  I  see  much  in  it  to  approve,  and  shall  be 
glad  if  it  shall  lead  our  youth  to  the  practice  of  thinking  on  such 
subjects  and  for  themselves.  That  it  will  have  this  tendency 
may  be  expected,  and  for  that  reason  I  feel  an  urgency  to  note 
what  I  deem  an  error  in  it,  the  more  requiring  notice  as  your 
opinion  is  strengthened  by  that  of  many  others.  You  seem,  in 
pages  84  and  148,  to  consider  the  judges  as  the  ultimate  arbiters 
of  all  constitutional  questions  ;  a  very  dangerous  doctrine  indeed, 
and  one  which  would  place  us  under  the  despotism  of  an  oligar- 
chy. Our  judges  are  as  honest  as  other  men,  and  not  more  so. 
They  have,  with  others,  the  same  passions  for  party,  for  power, 
and  the  privilege  of  their  corps.  Their  maxim  is  "  boni  judicis 
est  ampliare  jurisdictionem,"  and  their  power  the  more  danger- 
ous as  they  are  in  office  for  life,  and  not  responsible,  as  the  other 
functionaries  are,  to  the  elective  control.  The  constitution  has 
erected  no  such  single  tribunal,  knowing  that  to  whatever  hands 
confided,  with  the  corruptions  of  time  and  party,  its  members 
would  become  despots.  It  has  more  wisely  made  all  the  depart- 
ments co-equal  and  co-sovereign  within  themselves.  If  the  leg- 
islature fails  to  pass  laws  for  a  census,  for  paying  the  judges  and 
other  officers  of  government,  for  establishing  a  militia,  for  nat- 
uralization as  prescribed  by  the  constitution,  or  if  they  fail  to 
meet  in  congress,  the  judges  cannot  issue  their  mandamus  to 
them ;  if  the  President  fails  to  supply  the  place  of  a  judge,  to 
appoint  other  civil  or  military  officers,  to  issue  requisite  commis- 
sions, the  judges  cannot  force  him.  They  can  issue  their  man- 
damus or  distringas  to  no  executive  or  legislative  officer  to  en- 
force the  fulfflment  of  their  official  duties,  any  more  than  the 
president  or  legislature  may  issue  orders  to  the  judges  or  their 
officers.  Betrayed  by  English  example,  and  unaware,  as  it  should 
seem,  of  the  control  of  our  constitution  in  this  particular,  they 
have  at  times  overstepped  their  limit  by  undertaking  to  command 
executive  officers  in  the  discharge  of  their  executive  duties ;  but 
the  constitution,  m  keeping  three  departments  distinct  and  inde- 
pendent, restrains  the  authority  of  the  judges  to  judiciary  organs, 
as  it  does  the  executive  and  legislative  to  executive  and  legisla- 


tive  organs.  The  judges  certainly  have  more  frequent  occasion 
to  act  on  constitutional  questions,  because  the  laws  of  meum  and 
tuum  and  of  criminal  action,  forming  the  great  mass  of  the  sys- 
tem of  law,  constitute  their  particular  department.  When  the 
legislative  or  executive  functionaries  act  unconstitutionally,  they 
are  responsible  to  the  people  in  their  elective  capacity.  The  ex- 
emption of  the  judges  from  that  is  quite  dangerous  enough.  I 
Icnow  no  safe  depository  of  the  ultimate  powers  of  the  society 
but  the  people  themselves  ;  and  if  we  think  them  not  enlightened 
enough  to  exercise  their  control  with  a  wholesome  discretion, 
the  remedy  is  not  to  take  it  from  them,  but  to  inform  their  dis- 
cretion by  education.  This  is  the  true  corrective  of  abuses  of 
constitutional  power.  Pardon  me,  Sir,  for  this  difterence  of 
opinion.  My  personal  interest  in  such  questions  is  entirely  ex- 
tinct, but  not  my  wishes  for  the  longest  possible  continuance  of 
our  government  on  its  pure  principles  ;  if  the  three  powers  main- 
tain their  mutual  independence  on  each  other  it  may  last  long, 
but  not  so  if  either  can  assume  the  authorities  of  the  other.  I  ask 
your  candid  re-consideration  of  this  subject,  and  am  sufficiently 
3ure  you  will  form  a  candid  conclusion.  Accept  the  assurance 
of  my  great  respect. 


MoNTicELLO,  September  80,  1820. 

Deak  Sm, — An  absence  of  some  time  from  home  has  occasioned 
me  to  be  thus  late  in  acknowledging  the  receipt  of  your  favor 
of  the  6th,  and  I  see  in  it  with  pleasure  evidences  of  your  con- 
tinued health  and  application  to  business.  It  is  now,  I  believe, 
about  twenty  years  since  I  had  the  pleasure  of  seeing  you,  and 
we  are  apt,  in  such  cases,  to  lose  sight  of  time,  and  to  conceive 
that  our  friends  remain  stationary  at  the  same  point  of  health  and 
vigor  as  when  we  last  saw  them.  So  I  perceive  by  your  letter 
you  think  with  respect  to  myself,  but  twenty  years  added  to 
fifty-seven  make  quite  a  different  man.  To  threescore  and  seven- 
teen add  two  years  of  prostrate  health,  and  you  have  the  old, 


infirm,  and  nerveless  body  I  now  am,  unable  to  write  but  with 
pain,  and  unwilling  to  think  without  necessity.  In  this  state  1 
leave  the  world  and  its  affairs  to  the  young  and  energetic,  and 
resign  myself  to  their  care,  of  whom  I  have  endeavored  to  take 
care  when  young.  I  read  but  one  newspaper  and  that  of  my 
own  State,  and  more  for  its  advertisements  than  its  news.  I 
have  not  read  a  speech  in  Congress  for  some  years.  I  have 
heard,  indeed,  of  the  questions  of  the  tariff  and  Missouri,  and 
formed  primi  facie  opinions  on  them,  but  without  investigation. 
As  to  the  tariff,  I  should  say  put  down  all  banks,  admit  none  but 
a  metallic  circulation,  that  will  take  its  proper  level  with  the  hke 
circulation  in  other  countries,  and  then  our  manufacturers  may 
work  in  fair  competition  with  those  of  other  countries,  and  the 
import  duties  which  the  government  may  lay  for  the  purposes  of 
revenue  will  so  far  place  them  above  equal  competition.  The 
Missouri  question  is  a  mere  party  trick.  The  leaders  of  federal- 
ism, defeated  in  their  schemes  of  obtaining  power  by  rallying 
partisans  to  the  principle  of  monarchism,  a  principle  of  personal 
not  of  local  division,  have  changed  their  tack,  and  thrown  out 
another  barrel  to  the  whale.  They  are  taking  advantage  of  the 
virtuous  feelings  of  the  people  to  effect  a  division  of  parties  by  a 
geographical  line  ;  they  expect  that  this  will  ensure  them,  on 
local  principles,  the  majority  they  could  never  obtain  on  princi- 
ples of  federalism  ;  but  they  are  still  putting  their  shoulder  to  the 
wrong  wheel ;  they  are  wasting  Jeremiads  on  the  miseries  of 
slavery,  as  if  we  were  advocates  for  it.  Sincerity  in  their  declamar 
tions  should  direct  their  efforts  to  the  true  point  of  difficulty,  and 
unite  their  counsels  with  ours  in  devising  some  reasonable  and 
practicable  plan  of  getting  rid  of  it.  Some  of  these  leaders,  if 
they  could  attain  the  power,  their  ambition  would  rather  use  it 
to  keep  the  Union  together,  but  others  have  ever  had  in  view  its 
separation.  If  they  push  it  to  that,  they  will  find  the  line  of 
separation  very  different  from  their  36°  of  latitude,  and  as  man- 
ufacturing and  navigating  States,  they  will  have  quarrelled  with 
their  bread  and  butter,  and  I  fear  not  that  after  a  little  trial  they 
will  think  better  of  it,  and  return  to  the  embraces  of  their  nat- 


oral  and  best  friends.  But  this  scheme  of  party  I  leave  to  those 
who  are  to  live  under  its  consequences.  We  who  have  gone  be- 
fore have  performed  an  honest  duty,  by  putting  in  the  power  of 
our  successors  a  state  of  happiness  which  no  nation  ever  before 
had  within  their  choice.  If  that  choice  is  to  throw  it  away,  the 
dead  will  have  neither  the  power  nor  the  right  to  control  them. 
I  must  hope,  nevertheless,  that  the  mass  of  our  honest  and  well- 
meaning  brethren  of  the  other  States,  will  discover  the  use  which 
designing  leaders  are  making  of  their  best  feelings,  and  will  see 
the  precipice  to  which  they  are  lead,  before  they  take  the  fatal 
leap.     God  grant  it,  and  to  you  health  and  happiness. 


MoNTiCELLO,  October  20,  1820. 

Deak  Sir, — In  yom:  favor  of  May  3d,  which  I  have  now  to 
acknowldge,  you  so  kindly  proffered  your  attentions  to  any  little 
matters  I  might  have  on  that  side  of  the  water,  that  I  take  the 
liberty  of  availing  myself  of  this  proof  of  your  goodness  so  far  as 
to  request  you  to  put  the  enclosed  catalogue  in  the  hands  of  some 
hottest  bookseller  of  London,  who  will  procure  and  forward  the 
books  to  me,  with  care  and  good  faith.  They  should  be  packed 
in  a  cheap  trunk,  and  not  put  on  ship-board  until  April,  as  they 
would  be  liable  to  damage  on  a  winter  passage.  I  ask  an  honest 
correspondent  in  that  line,  because,  when  we  begin  to  import  for 
the  library  of  our  Universary,  we  shall  need  one  worthy  of  entire 

I  send  this  letter  open  to  my  correspondent  in  Richmond, 
Captain  Bernard  Peyton,  with  a  request  that  he  will  put  into  it  a 
bill  of  exchange  on  London  of  £40  sterling,  which  of  course, 
therefore,  I  cannot  describe  to  you  by  naming  drawer  and  drawee. 
He  will  also  forward,  by  other  convej^ance,  the  duplicate  and 
triplicate  as  usual.  This  sum  would  more  than  cover  the  cost 
of  the  books  written  for,  according  to  their  prices  stated  in  print- 
ed catalogues ;  but  as  books  have  risen  with  other  things  in  price. 


I  have  enlarged  the  printed  amount  by  about  15  per  cent,  to 
cover  any  rise.  Still,  should  it  be  insufficient,  the  bookseller  is 
requested  to  dock  the  catalogue  to  the  amount  of  the  remittance. 
I  have  no  news  to  give  you ;  for  I  have  none  but  from  the 
newspapers,  and  believing  little  of  that  myself,  it  would  be  an 
unworthy  present  to  my  friends.  But  the  important  news 
hes  now  on  your  side  of  the  Atlantic.  England,  in  throes 
from  a  trifle,  as  it  would  seem,  but  that  trifle  the  symptom  of 
an  iiTemediable  disease  proceeding  from  a  long  course  of  ex- 
haustion by  efforts  and  burthens  beyond  her  natural  strength ; 
France  agonizing  between  royalists  and  constitutionalists ;  the 
other  States  of  Europe  pressing  on  to  revolution  and  the  rights 
of  man,  and  the  colossal  powers  of  Russia  and  Austria  mar- 
shalled against  them.  These  are  more  than  specks  of  hurri- 
cane in  the  horizon  of  the  world.  You,  who  are  young,  may 
live  to  see  its  issue  ;  the  beginning  only  is  for  my  time.  Nor  is 
our  side  of  the  water  entirely  untroubled,  the  boisterous  sea  of 
liberty  is  never  without  a  wave.  A  hideous  evil,  the  magnitude 
of  which  is  seen,  and  at  a  distance  only,  by  the  one  party,  and 
more  sorely  felt  and  sincerely  deplored  by  the  other,  from  the 
difiiculty  of  the  cure,  divides  us  at  this  moment  too  angrily. 
The  attempt  by  one  party  to  prohibit  willing  States  from  sharing 
the  evil,  is  thought  by  the  other  to  render  desperate,  by  accumu- 
lation, the  hope  of  its  final  eradication.  If  a  little  time,  however, 
is  given  to  both  parties  to  cool,  and  to  dispel  their  visionary 
fears,  they  will  see  that  concurring  in  sentiment  as  to  the  evil, 
moral  and  political,  the  duty  and  interest  of  both  is  to  concur  also 
in  divining  a  practicable  process  of  cure.  Should  time  not  be 
given,  and  the  schism  be  pushed  to  separation,  it  will  be  for  a 
short  term  only  ;  two  or  three  years  trial  will  bring  them  bac^, 
like  quarrelling  lovers  to  renewed  embraces,  and  increased  affec- 
tions. The  experiment  of  separation  would  soon  prove  to  both 
that  they  had  mutually  miscalculated  their  best  interests.  And 
even  were  the  parties  in  Congress  to  secede  in  a  passion,  the  so- 
berer people  would  call  a  convention  and  cement  again  the  sev- 
erance attempted  by  the  insanity  of  their  functionaries.     With 


this  consoling  view,  my  greatest  grief  -would  be  for  the  fatal  ef- 
fect of  such  an  event  on  the  hopes  and  happiness  of  the  world. 
We  exist,  and  are  quoted,  as  standing  proofs  that  a  government, 
so  modelled  as  to  rest  continually  on  the  will  of  the  whole  socie- 
ty, is  a  practicable  government.  Were  we  to  break  to  pieces, 
it  would  damp  the  hopes  and  the  efforts  of  the  good,  and  give 
triumph  to  those  of  the  bad  through  the  whole  enslaved  world. 
As  members,  therefore,  of  the  universal  society  of  mankind,  and 
standing  in  high  and  responsible  relation  with  them,  it  is  our 
sacred  duty  to  suppress  passion  among  ourselves,  and  not  to  blast 
the  confidence  we  have  inspired  of  proof  that  a  government  of 
reason  is  better  than  one  of  force.  This  letter  is  not  of  facts  but 
of  opinions,  as  you  will  observe ;  and  although  the  converse  is 
generally  the  most  acceptable,  I  do  not  know  that,  in  your  situa- 
tion, the  opinions  of  your  countrymen  may  not  be  as  desirable  to 
be  known  to  you  as  facts.  They  constitute,  indeed,  moral  facts, 
as  important  as  physical  ones  to  the  attention  of  the  public  func- 
tionary. Wishing  you  a  long  career  to  the  services  you  may 
render  your  country,  and  that  it  may  be  a  career  of  happiness 
and  prosperity  to  yourself,  I  salute  you  with  affectionate  attach- 
ment and  respect. 

TO    MH.    COKKEA. 

MoNTiCELLo,  October  24,  1820. 

Your  kind  letter,  dear  Sir,  of  October  12th,  was  handed  to  me 
by  Dr.  Cooper,  and  was  the  first  correction  of  an  erroneous  be- 
lief that  you  had  long  since  left  our  shores.  Such  had  been  Colo- 
nel Randolph's  opinion,  and  his  had  governed  mine.  I  received 
your  adieu  with  feelings  of  sincere  regret  at  the  loss  we  were  to 
sustain,  and  particularly  of  those  friendly  visits  by  which  you 
had  made  me  so  happy.  I  shall  feel,  too,  the  want  of  your 
counsel  and  approbation  in  what  we  are  doing  and  have  yet  to 
do  in  our  University,  the  last  of  my  mortal  cares,  and  the  last 
service  I  can  render  my  country.  But  turning  from  myself, 
throwmg  f.'gotism  behind  me,  and  looking  to  your  happiness,  it 


is  a  duty  and  consolation  of  friendship  to  consider  that  that  may 
be  promoted  by  your  return  to  your  own  country.  There  I  hope 
you  will  receive  the  honors  and  rewards  you  merit,  and  which 
may  make  the  rest  of  your  life  easy  and  happy  ;  there  too  you 
will  render  precious  services  by  promoting  the  science  of  your 
country,  and  blessing  its  future  generations  with  the  advantages 
that  bestows.  Nor  even  there  shall  we  lose  all  the  benefits  of  your 
friendship  ;  for  this  motive,  as  well  as  the  love  of  your  own 
country,  will  be  an  incitement  to  promote  that  intimate  harmony 
between  our  two  nations  which  is  so  much  the  interest  of  both. 
Nothing  is  so  important  as  that  America  shall  separate  herself 
from  the  systems  of  Europe,  and  establish  one  of  her  own.  Our 
circumstances,  our  pursuits,  our  interests,  are  distinct,  the  princi- 
ples of  our  policy  should  be  so  also.  All  entanglements  with 
that  quarter  of  the  globe  should  be  avoided  if  we  mean  that 
peace  and  justice  shall  be  the  polar  stars  of  the  American  socie- 
ties. I  had  written  a  letter  to  a  friend  while  you  were  here,  in 
a  part  of  which  these  sentiments  were  expressed,  and  I  had 
made  an  extract  from  it  to  put  into  your  hands,  as  containing  my 
creed  on  that  subject.  You  had  left  us,  however,  in  the  morn- 
ing earlier  than  I  had  been  aware  ;  still  I  enclose  it  to  you,  be- 
cause it  would  be  a  leading  principle  with  me,  had  I  longer  to 
live.  During  six  and  thirty  years  that  I  have  been  in  situations 
to  attend  to  the  conduct  and  characters  of  foreign  nations,  I  have 
found  the  government  of  Portugal  the  most  just,  inoffensive  and 
unambitious  of  any  one  with  which  we  had  concern,  without  a 
single  exception.  I  am  sure  that  this  is  the  character  of  ours 
also.  Two  such  nations  can  never  wish  to  quarrel  with  each  oth- 
er. Subordinate  officers  may  be  negligent,  may  have  their  pas- 
sions  and  partialities,  and  be  criminally  remiss  in  preventing  the 
enterprises  of  the  lawless  banditti  who  are  to  be  found  in  every 
seaport  of  every  country.  The  late  piratical  depredations  which 
your  commerce  has  suffered  as  well  as  ours,  and  that  of  other 
nations,  seem  to  have  been  committed  by  renegado  rovers  of  seve- 
ral nations,  French,  English,  American,  which  they  as  well  as 
we  have  not  been  careful  enough  to  suppress.     I  hope  our  Con- 


gress  now  about  to  meet  will  strengthen  the  measures  of  suppress- 
ion. Of  their  disposition  to  do  it  there  can  be  no  doubt ;  for  all 
men  of  moral  principle  must  be  shocked  at  these  atrocities.  1 
had  repeated  conversations  on  this  subject  with  the  President, 
while  at  his  seat  in  this  neighborhood.  No  man  can  abhor  these 
enormities  more  deeply.  I  trust  it  will  not  have  been  in  the 
power  of  abandoned  rovers,  nor  yet  of  negligent  functionaries,  to 
disturb  the  harmony  of  two  nations  so  much  disposed  to  mutual 
friendship,  and  interested  in  it.  To  this,  my  dear  friend,  you 
can  be  mainly  instrumental,  and  I  know  your  patriotism  and 
philanthropy  too  well  to  doubt  your  best  efforts  to  cement  us. 
In  these  I  pray  for  your  success,  and  that  heaven  may  long  pre- 
serve you  in- health  and  prosperity  to  do  all  the  good  to  mankind 
to  which  your  enlightened  and  benevolent  mind  disposes  you. 
Of  the  continuance  of  my  affectionate  friendship,  with  that  of 
my  life,  and  of  its  fervent  wishes  for  your  happiness,  accept  my 
sincere  assurance. 


MoNTicELLo,  November  4,  1820. 

Sir, — ^Your  favor  of  September  18th  is  just  received,  with  the 
book  accompanying  it.  Its  delay  was  owing  to  that  of  the  box 
of  books  from  Mr.  Guegan,  in  which  it  was  packed.  Being 
just  setting  out  on  a  journey  I  have  time  only  to  look  over  the 
summary  of  contents.  In  this  I  see  nothing  in  which  I  am  like- 
ly to  differ  materially  from  you.  I  hold  the  precepts  of  Jesus, 
as  delivered  by  himself,  to  be  the  most  pure,  benevolent,  and 
sublime  which  have  ever  been  preached  to  man.  I  adhere  to 
the  principles  of  the  first  age  ;  and  consider  all  subsequent  inno- 
vations as  corruptions  of  his  religion,  having  no  foundation  in 
what  came  from  him.  The  metaphysical  insanities  of  Athana- 
sius,  of  Loyola,  and  of  Calvin,  are,  to  my  understanding,  mere 
relapses  into  polytheism,  differing  from  paganism  only  by  being 
more  unintelligible.     The  religion  of  Jesus  is  founded  in  the 


Unity  of  God,  and  this  principle  chiefly,  gave  it  triumph  over 
the  rabble  of  heathen  gods  then  acknowledged.  Thinking  men 
of  all  nations  rallied  readily  to  the  doctrine  of  one  only  God, 
and  embraced  it  with  the  pure  morals  which  Jesus  inculcated. 
If  the  freedom  of  religion,  guaranteed  to  us  by  law  in  theory, 
can  ever  rise  in  practice  under  the  overbearing  inquisition  of 
public  opinion,  truth  will  prevail  over  fanaticism,  and  the  genuine 
doctrines  of  Jesus,  so  long  perverted  by  his  pseudo-priests,  will 
dgain  be  restored  to  their  origiaal  purity.  This  reformation  will 
advance  with  the  other  improvements  of  the  human  mind,  but 
too  late  for  me  to  witness  it.  Accept  my  thanks  for  your  book, 
in  which  I  shall  read  with  pleasure  your  developments  of  the 
subject,  and  with  them  the  assurance  of  my  high  respect. 

TO    JOSEPH    0.    CABELL. 

Poplar  Forest,  November  28,  1820. 

Dear  Sib, — ^I  sent  in  due  time  the  Report  of  the  Visitors  to 
the  Governor,  with  a  request  that  he  would  endeavor  to  con- 
vene the  Literary  Board  in  time  to  lay  it  before  the  legislature 
on  the  second  day  of  their  session.  It  was  enclosed  in  a  letter 
which  will  explain  itself  to  you.  If  delivered  before  the  crowd 
of  other  business  presses  on  them,  they  may  act  on  it  immedi- 
ately, and  before  there  will  have  been  time  for  unfriendly  com- 
binations and  maneuvi'es  by  the  enemies  of  the  institution.  I 
enclose  you  now  a  paper  presenting  some  views  which  may  be 
useful  to  you  in  conversations,  to  rebut  exaggerated  estimates  of 
what  our  institution  is  to  cost,  and  reproaches  of  deceptive  esti- 
mates. One  hundred  and  sixty-two  thousand  three  hundred  and 
sixty-four  dollars  will  be  about  the  cost  of  the  whole  establish- 
ment, when  completed.  Not  an  office  at  Washington  has  cost 
less.  The  single  building  of  the  court  house  of  Henrico  has 
cost  nearly  that ;  and  the  massive  walls  of  the  millions  of  bricks 
of  William  and  Mary  could  not  now  be  built  for  a  less  sum. 

Surely  Governor  Clinton's  display  of  the  gigantic  efforts  of 


New  York  towards  the  education  of  her  citizens,  will  stimulate 
the  pride  as  well  as  the  patriotism  of  our  legislature,  to  look  to 
the  reputation  and  safety  of  their  own  country,  to  rescue  it  from 
the  degradation  of  becoming  the  Barbary  of  the  Union,  and  of 
falling  into  the  ranks  of  our  own  negroes.  To  that  condition  it 
is  fast  sinking.  We  shall  be  in  the  hands  of  the  other  States, 
what  our  indigenous  predecessors  were  when  invaded  by  the 
science  and  arts  of  Europe.  The  mass  of  education  in  Virginia, 
before  the  Revolution,  placed  her  with  the  foremost  of  her  sister 
colonies.  What  is  her  education  now  ?  Where  is  it  ?  The 
little  we  have  we  import,  like  beggars,  from  other  States ;  or 
import  their  beggars  to  bestow  on  us  their  miserable  crumbs. 
And  what  is  wanting  to  restore  us  to  our  station  among  our  con- 
federates ?  Not  more  money  from  the  people.  Enough  has 
been  raised  by  them,  and  appropriated  to  this  very  object. 
It  is  that  it  should  be  employed  understandingly,  and  for  their 
greatest  good.  That  good  requires,  that  while  they  are  instruct- 
ed in  general,  competently  to  the  common  business  of  life,  others 
should  employ  their  genius  with  necessary  information  to  the 
useful  arts,  to  inventions  for  saving  labor  and  increasing  our 
comforts,  to  nourishing  our  health,  to  civil  government,  military 
science,  &c. 

Would  it  not  have  a  good  effect  for  the  friends  of  this  Uni- 
versity to  take  the  lead  in  proposing  and  etfecting  a  practical 
scheme  of  elementary  schools  ?  To  assume  the  character  of  the 
friends,  rather  than  the  opponents  of  that  object.  The  present 
plan  has  appropriated  to  the  primary  schools  forty-five  thousand 
dollars  for  three  years,  making  one  hundred  and  thirty-five  thou- 
sand dollars.  I  should  be  glad  to  know  if  this  sum  has  educated 
one  hundred  and  thirty-five  poor  children  ?  I  doubt  it  much. 
And  if  it  has,  they  have  cost  us  one  thousand  dollars  a  piece  for 
what  might  have  been  done  with  thirty  dollars.  Supposing  the 
literary  revenue  to  be  sixty  thousand  dollars,  I  think  it  demon- 
strable, that  this  sum,  equally  divided  between  the  two  objects, 
would  amply  suffice  for  both.  One  hundred  counties,  divided 
into  about  twelve  wards  each,  on  an  average,  and  a  school  in 


each  ward  of  perhaps  ten  children,  would  be  one  thousand  and 
two  hundred  schools,  distributed  proportionably  over  the  surface 
of  the  State.  The  inhabitants  of  each  ward,  meeting  together 
(as  when  they  work  on  the  roads),  building  good  log  houses  for 
their  school  and  teacher,  and  contributing  for  his  provisions,  ra- 
tions of  pork,,  beef,  and  corn,  in  the  proportion  each  of  his  other 
taxes,  would  thus  lodge  and  feed  him  without  feeling  it ;  and 
those  of  them  who  are  able,  paying  for  the  tuition  of  their  own 
children,  would  leave  no  call  on  the  public  fund  but  for  the 
tuition  fee  of,  here  and  there,  an  accidental  pauper,  who  would 
still  be  fed  and  lodged  with  his  parents.  Suppose  this  fee  ten 
dollars,  and  three  hundred  dollars  apportioned  to  a  county  on  an 
average,)  more  or  less  proportioned,)  would  there  be  thirty  such 
paupers  for  every  county  ?  I  think  not.  The  truth  is,  that  the 
want  of  common  education  with  us  is  not  from  our  poverty,  but 
from  want  of  an  orderly  system.  More  money  is  now  paid  for 
the  education  of  a  part,  than  would  be  paid  for  that  of  the  whole, 
if  systematically  arranged.  Six  thousand  common  schools  in 
New  York,  fifty  pupils  in  each,  three  hundred  thousand  in  all  ; 
one  hundred  and  sixty  thousand  dollars  annually  paid  to  the 
masters ;  forty  established  academies,  with  two  thousand  two 
hundred  and  eighteen  pupils ;  and  five  colleges,  with  seven  hun- 
dred and  eighteen  students ;  to  which  last  classes  of  institutions 
seven  hundred  and  twenty  thousand  dollars  have  been  given ; 
and  the  whole  appropriations  for  education  estimated  at  two  and 
a  half  millions  of  dollars  !  What  a  pigmy  to  this  is  Virginia  be- 
come, with  a  population  almost  equal  to  that  of  New  York ! 
And  whence  this  difference  ?  From  the  difference  their  rulers 
set  on  the  value  of  knowledge,  and  the  prosperity  it  produces. 
But  still,  if  a  pigmy,  let  her  do  what  a  pigmy  may  do.  If  among 
fifty  children  in  each  of  the  six  thousand  schools  of  New  York, 
there  are  only  paupers  enough  to  employ  twenty-five  dollars  of 
public  money  to  each  school,  smely  among  the  ten  children  of 
each  of  our  one  thousand  and  two  hundred  schools,  the  same 
sum  of  twenty-five  dollars  to  each  school  will  teach  its  paupers, 
(five  times  as  much  as  to  the  same  number  in  New  York,)  and 


will  amount  for  the  whole  to  thirty  thousand  dollars  a  year,  the 
one-half  only  of  our  literary  revenue. 

Do  then,  dear  Sir,  think  of  this,  and  engage  our  friends  to  take 
in  hand  the  whole  subject.  It  will  reconcile  the  friends  of  the 
elementary  schools,  and  none  are  more  warmly  so  than  myself, 
lighten  the  difficulties  of  the  University,  and  promote  in  every 
order  of  men  the  degree  of  instruction  proportioned  to  their  con- 
dition, and  to  their  views  in  life.  It  will  combine  with  the  mass 
of  our  force,  a  wise  direction  of  it,  which  will  insure  to  our 
country  its  future  prosperity  and  safety.  I  had  formerly  thought 
that  visitors  of  the  school  might  be  chosen  by  the  county,  and 
charged  to  provide  teachers  for  every  ward,  and  to  superintend 
them.  I  now  think  it  would  be  better  for  every  ward  to  choose 
its  own  resident  visitor,  whose  business  it  would  be  to  keep  a 
teacher  in  the  ward,  to  superintend  the  school,  and  to  call  meet- 
ings of  the  ward  for  all  purposes  relating  to  it ;  their  accounts  to 
be  settled,  and  wards  laid  off  by  the  courts.  I  think  ward  elec- 
tions better  for  many  reasons,  one  of  which  is  sufficient,  that  it 
will  keep  elementary  education  out  of  the  hands  of  fanaticising 
preachers,  who,  in  county  elections,  would  be  universally  chosen, 
and  the  predominant  sect  06  the  county  would  possess  itself  of 
all  its  schools. 

A  wrist  stiffened  by  an  ancient  accident,  now  more  so  by  the 
effect  of  age,  renders  writing  a  slow  and  irksome  operation  with 
me.  I  cannot,  therefore,  present  these  views,  by  separate  letters 
to  each  of  our  colleagues  in  the  legislature,  but  must  pray  you  to 
communicate  them  to  Mr.  Johnson  and  General  Breckenridge, 
and  to  request  them  to  consider  this  as  equally  meant  for  them. 
Mr.  Gordon  being  the  local  representative  of  the  University, 
and  among  its  most  zealous  friends,  would  be  a  more  useful 
second  to  General  Breckenridge  in  the  House  of  Delegates,  by 
a  free  communication  of  what  concerns  the  University,  with  which 
he  has  had  little  opportunity  of  becoming  acquainted.  So,  also, 
would  it  be  to  Mr.  Rives,  who  would  be  a  friendly  advocate.         , 

Accept  the  assurances  of  my  constant  and  affectionate  esteem 
and  respect. 


TO    MK.    MADISON. 

Poplar  Fouest,  November  29,  1820. 

Deah  Sir, — The  enclosed  letter  from  our  ancient  friend 
Tenche  Coxe,  came  unfortunately  to  Monticello  after  I  had  left 
it,  and  has  had  a  dilatory  passage  to  this  place,  where  I  received 
it  yesterday,  and  obey  its  injunction  of  immediate  transmission 
to  you.  We  should  have  recognized  the  style  even  without  a 
signature,  and  although  so  written  as  to  be  much  of  it  indeci- 
pherable. This  is  a  sample  of  the  effects  we  may  expect 
from  the  late  mischievous  law  vacating  every  four  years  nearly 
all  the  executive  officers  of  the  government.  It  saps  the  consti- 
tutional and  salutary  functions  of  the  President,  and  introduces 
a  principle  of  intrigue  and  corruption,  which  will  soon  leaven 
the  mass,  not  only  of  Senators,  but  of  citizens.  It  is  more  bane- 
ful than  the  attempt  which  failed  in  the  beginning  of  the  gov- 
ernment, to  make  all  officers  irremovable  but  with  the  consent 
of  the  Senate.  This  places,  every  four  years,  all  appointments 
under  their  power,  and  even  obliges  them  to  act  on  every  one 
nomination.  It  will  keep  in  constant  excitement  all  the  hungry 
cormorants  for  office,  render  them,- as  well  as  those  in  place, 
sycophants  to  their  Senators,  engage  these  in  eternal  intrigue  to 
turn  out  one  and  put  in  another,  in  cabals  to  swap  work  ;  and 
make  of  them  what  all  executive  directories  become,  mere  sinks 
of  corruption  and  faction.  This  must  have  been  one  of  the  mid- 
night signatures  of  the  President,  when  he  had  not  time  to  con- 
sider, or  even  to  read  the  law  ;  and  the  more  fatal  as  being  irre- 
pealable  but  with^the  consent  of  the  Senate,  which  will  never 
be  obtained. 

F.  Gilmer  has  communicated  to  me  Mr.-  Correa's  letter  to  him 
of  adieux  to  his  friends  here,  among  whom  he  names  most  af- 
fectionately Mrs.  Madison  and  yourself.  No  foreigner,  I  believe, 
has  ever  carried  with  him  more  friendly  regrets.  .  He  was  to  sail 
the  next  day  (November  10)  in  the  British  packet  for  England,  and 
thence  take  his  passage  in  January  for  Brazil.  His  present  views 
are  of  course  liable  to  be  affected  by  the  events  of  Portugal,  and 


the  possible  effects  of  their  example  on  Brazil.  I  expect  to  re- 
turn to  Monticello  about  the  middle  of  the  ensuing  month,  and 
salute  you  with  constant  affection  and  respect. 


MoNTioELLO,  December  25,  1820. 

Deab  Sir, — On  my  return  home  after  a  long  absence,  I  find 
here  your  favor  of  November  the  23d,  with  Colonel  Taylor's 
"Constructi«m  Construed,"  which  you  have  been  so  kind  as  to  send 
me,  in  the  name  of  the  author  as  well  as  yourself.  Permit  me, 
if  you  please,  to  use  the  same  channel  for  conveying  to  him  the 
thanks  I  render  you  also  for  this  mark  of  attention.  I  shall  read 
it,  I  know,  with  edification,  as  I  did  his  Inquiry,  to  which  I  ac- 
knowledge myself  indebted  for  many  valuable  ideas,  and  for  the 
correction  of  some  errors  of  early  opinion,  never  seen  in  a  cor- 
rect light  until  presented  to  me  in  that  work.  That  the  present 
volume  is  equally  orthodox,  I  know  before  reading  it,  because  I 
know  that  Colonel  Taylor  and  myself  have  rarely,  if  ever,  dif- 
fered in  any  political  principle  of  importance.  Every  act  of  his 
life,  and  every  word  he  ever  wrote,  satisfies  me  of  this.  So,  also, 
as  to  the  two  Presidents,  late  and  now  in  office,  I  know  them 
both  to  be  of  principles  as  truly  republican  as  any  men  living 
If  there  be  anything  amiss,  therefore,  in  the  present  state  of  oui 
affairs,  as  the  formidable  deficit  lately  unfolded  to  us  indicates 
I  ascribe  it  to  the  inattention  of  Congress  to  their  duties,  to  theii 
unwise  dissipation  and  waste  of  the  public  contributions.  They 
seemed,  some  little  while  ago,  to  be  at  a  loss  for  objects  whereon 
to  throw  away  the  supposed  fathomless  funds  of  the  treasury.  1 
had  feared  the  result,  because  I  saw  among  them  some  of  my  old 
fellow  laborers,  of  tried  and  known  principles,  yet  often  in  their 
minorities.  I  am  aware  that  in  one  of  their  most  ruinous  vagar- 
ies, the  people  were  themselves  betrayed  into  the  same  phrenzy 
with  their  Representatives.  The  deficit  produced,  and  a  heavy 
•ax  to  supply  it,  will,  I  trust,  bring  both  to  their  sober  senses. 


But  it  is  not  from  this  branch  of  government  we  have  most  to 
fear.  Taxes  and  short  elections  will  keep  them  right.  The  ju- 
diciary of  the  United  States  is  the  subtle  corps  of  sappers  and 
miners  constantly  working  under  ground  to  undermine  the  foun- 
dations of  our  confederated  fabric.  They  are  construing  our 
constitution  from  a  co-ordination  of  a  general  and  special  gov- 
ernment to  a  general  and  supreme  one  alone.  This  will  lay  all 
things  at  their  feet,  and  they  are  too  well  versed  in  English  law  to 
forget  the  maxim,  "  boni  judicis  est  ampliare  jurisdictionem." 
We  shall  see  if  they  are  bold  enough  to  take  the  daring  stride 
their  five  lawyers  have  lately  taken.  If  they  do,  then,  with  the 
editor  of  our  book,  in  his  address  to  the  pulalic,  I  will  say,  that 
"  against  this  every  man  should  raise  his  voice,"  and  more, 
should  uplift  his  arm.  Who  wrote  this  admirable  address  ? 
Sound,  luminous,  strong,  not  a  word  too  much,  nor  one  which 
can  be  changed  but  for  the  worse.  That  pen  should  go  on,  lay 
bare  these  wounds  of  our  constitution,  expose  the  decisions  seria- 
tim, and  arouse,  as  it  is  able,  the  attention  of  the  nation  to  these 
bold  speculators  on  its  patience.  Having  found,  from  experience, 
that  impeachment  is  an  impracticable  thing,  a  mere  scare-crow, 
they  consider  themselves  secure  for  life ;  they  sculk  from  responsi- 
bility to  public  opinion,  the  only  remaining  hold  on  them,  under  a 
practice  first  introduced  into  England  by  Lord  'Mansfield.  An 
opinion  is  huddled  up  in  conclave,  perhaps  by  a  majority  of  one, 
delivered  as  if  unanimous,  and  with  the  silent  acquiescence  of 
lazy  or  timid  associates,  by  a  crafty  chief  judge,  who  sophisti- 
cates the  law  to  his  mind,  by  the  turn  of  his  own  reasoning.  A 
judiciary  law  was  once  reported  by  the  Attorney  General  to 
Congress,  requiring  each  judge  to  deliver  his  opinion  seriatim 
and  openly,  and  then  to  give  it  in  writing  to  the  clerk  to  be  en- 
tered in  the  record.  A  judiciary  independent  of  a  king  or  ex- 
ecutive alone,  is  a  good  thing  ;  but  independence  of  the  will  of 
the  nation  is  a  solecism,  at  least  in  a  republican  government. 

But  to  return  to  your  letter  ;  you  ask  for  my  opinion  of  the 
work  you  send  me,  and  to  let  it  go  out  to  the  public.  This  I 
have  ever  made  a  point  of  declining,  (one  or  twa  instances  only 


excepted.)  Complimentary  thanks  to  writers  who  have  sent  me 
their  works,  have  betrayed  me  sometimes  before  the  public,  with- 
out my  consent  having  beeu  asked.  But  I  am  far  from  presum- 
ing to  direct  the  reading  of  my  fellow  citizens,  who  are  good 
enough  judges  themselves  of  what  is  worthy  their  reading.  I 
am,  also,  too  desirous  of  quiet  to  place  myself  in  the  way  of  con- 
tention. Against  this  I  am  admonished  by  bodily  decay,  which 
cannot  be  unaccompanied  by  coiTesponding  wane  of  the  mind. 
Of  this  I  am  as  yet  sensible,  sufficiently  to  be  unwilling  to  trust 
myself  before  the  public,  and  when  I  cease  to  be  so,  I  hope  that 
my  friends  will  be  too  careful  of  me  to  draw  me  forth  and  pre- 
sent me,  like  a  Priam  in  armor,  as  a  spectacle  for  public  com- 
passion. I  hope  our  political  bark  will  ride  through  all  its  dan- 
gers ;  but  I  can  in  future  be  but  an  inert  passenger. 

I  salute  you  with  sentiments  of  great  friendship  and  respect. 

TO    M.    DE    LA    FATETTE. 

MoNTiuici.i.o,  Di'cember  26,  1820. 

It  is  long,  indeed,  my  very  dear  friend,  since  I  have  been  able 
to  address  a  letter  to  you.  For  more  than  two  years  my  health 
has  been  sj  entirely  prostrate,  that  I  have,  of  necessity,  inter- 
mitted all  correspondence.  The  dislocated  wrist,  too,  which 
perhaps  you  may  recollect,  has  now  become  so  stiff  from  the 
effects  of  age,  that  writing  is  become  a  slow  and  painful  opera- 
tion, and  scarcely  ever  undertaken  but  under  the  goad  of  imperi- 
ous business.  In  the  meantime  your  country  has  been  going  on 
less  well  than  I  had  hoped.  But  it  will  go  on.  The  light  which 
has  been  shed  on  the  mind  of  man  through  the  civilized  world, 
has  given  it  a  new  direction,  from  which  no  human  power  can 
divert  it.  The  sovereigns  of  Europe  who  are  wise,  or  have  wise 
counsellors,  see  this,  and  bend  to  the  breese  which  blows  ;  the 
unwise  alone  stiffen  and  meet  its  inevitable  crush.  The  volcanic 
rumblings  in  the  bowels  of  Europe,  from  north  to  south,  seem  to 

V.)L.  V]l.  1.^ 


threaten  a  general  explosion,  and  the  march  of  armies  into  Italy 
cannot  end  in  a  simple  march.  The  disease  of  liberty  is  catch- 
ing ;  those  armies  will  take  it  in  the  south,  carry  it  thence  to  their 
own  country,  spread  there  the  infection  of  revolution  and  repre- 
sentative government,  and  raise  its  people  from  the  prone  con- 
dition of  brutes  to  the  erect  altitude  of  man.  Some  fear  our  en- 
velopment in  the  wars  engendering  from  the  unsettled  state  of 
our  aifairs  with  Spain,  and  therefore  are  anxious  for  a  ratifica- 
tion of  our  treaty  with  her.  I  fear  no  such  thing,  and  hope  that 
if  ratified  by  Spain  it  will  be  rejected  here.  We  may  justly  say 
to  Spain,  "  when  this  negotiation  commenced,  twenty  years  ago, 
your  authority  was  acknowledged  by  those  you  are  selling  to  us. 
That  authority  is  now  renounced,  and  their  right  of  self-disposal 
asserted.  In  buying  them  from  you,  then,  we  buy  but  a  war- 
litle,  a  right  to  subdue  them,  which  yon  can  neither  convey  nor 
we  acquire.  This  is  a  family  quarrel  in  which  we  have  no  right 
to  meddle.  Settle  it  between  yourselves,  and  we  will  then  treat 
with  the  party  whose  right  is  acknowledged."  With  whom  that 
will  be,  no  doubt  can  be  entertained.  And  why  should  we  re- 
volt them  by  purchasing  them  as  cattle,  rather  than  receiving 
them  as  fellow-men  ?  Spain  has  held  off  until  she  sees  they  are 
lost  to  her,  and  now  thinks  it  better  to  get  something  than  no- 
thing for  them.  When  she  shall  see  South  America  equally  des- 
perate, she  will  be  wise  to  sell  that  also. 

With  us  things  are  going  on  well.  The  boisterous  sea  of  lib- 
erty indeed  is  never  without  a  wave,  and  that  from  Missouri  is 
now  rolling  towards  us,  but  we  shall  ride  over  it  as  we  have  over 
all  others.  It  is  not  a  moral  question,  but  one  merely  of  power. 
Its  object  is  to  raise  a  geographical  principle  for  the  choice  of  a 
president,  and  the  noise  will  be  kept  up  till  that  is  effected.  All 
know  that  permitting  the  slaves  of  the  south  to  spread  into  the 
west  will  not  add  one  being  to  that  unfortunate  condition,  that 
it  will  increase  the  happiness  of  those  existing,  and  by  spreading 
them  over  a  larger  surface,  will  dilute  the  evil  everywhere,  and 
facilitate  the  means  of  getting  finally  rid  of  it,  an  event  more 
anxiously  wished  by  those  on  whom  it  presses  than  by  the  noisy 


pretenders  to  exclusive  humanity.  In  the  meantime,  it  is  a  lad- 
der for  rivals  climbing  to  power. 

In  a  letter  to  Mr.  Porrey,  of  March  18th,  1819,  I  informed 
him  of  the  success  of  our  application  to  Congress  on  his  behalf. 
I  enclosed  this  letter  to  you,  but  hearing  nothing  from  him,  and 
as  you  say  nothing  of  it  in  yours  of  July  20th,  I  am  not  without 
fear  it  may  have  miscarried.  In  the  present  I  enclose  for  him 
the  Auditor's  certificate,  and  the  letters  of  General  Washington 
and  myself,  which  he  had  forwarded  to  me  with  a  request  of 
their  return.  Your  kindness  in  delivering  thts  will  render  un- 
necessary another  letter  from  me,  an  effort  which  necessarily 
obliges  me  to  spare  myself. 

If  you  shall  hear  from  me  more  seldom  than  heretofore,  ascribe 
it,  my  ever  dear  friend,  to  the  heavy  load  of  seventy-seven  years 
and  to  waning  health,  but  not  to  weakened  affections;  these  will 
continue  what  they  have  ever  been,  and  will  ever  be  sincere  and 
warm  to  the  latest  breath  of  yours  devotedly. 

TO     MB.     EOSCOE. 

MoNTiCKLi.o,  December  27,  1820. 

Dear  Sir, — Your  letter  received  more  than  a  twelvemonth 
ago,  with  the  two  tracts  on  penal  jurisprudence,  and  the  literary 
institution  of  Liverpool,  ought  long  since  to  have  called  for  the 
thanks  I  now  return,  had  it  been  in  my  power  sooner  to  have 
tendered  them.  But  a  long  continuance  of  ill  health  has  sus- 
pended all  power  of  answering  the  kind  attentions  with  which 
I  have  been  honored  during  it ;  and  it  is  only  now  that  a  state 
of  slow  and  uncertain  convalescence  enables  me  to  make  ac- 
knowledgments which  have  been  so  long  and  painfully  delayed. 
The  treatise  on  penal  jurisprudence  I  read  with  great  pleasure. 
Beccaria  had  demonstrated  general  principles,  but  practical  appli- 
cations were  difficult.  Our  States  are  trying  them  with  more  or 
less  success  ;  and  the  great  light  you  have  thrown  on  the  subject 
will,  I  am  sure,  be  useful  to  our  experiment.     For  the  thing,  as 


yet,  is  but  in  experiment.  Your  Liverpool  institution  will  a'so 
aid  us  in  the  organization  of  our  new  University,  an  establish- 
ment now  in  progress  in  this  State,  and  to  which  my  remaining 
days  and  faculties  will  be  devoted.  When  ready  for  its  Profes- 
sors, we  shall  apply  for  them  chiefly  to  your  island.  Were  we 
content  to  remain  stationary  in  science,  we  should  take  them  from 
among  ourselves ;  but,  desirous  of  advancing,  we  must  seek 
them  in  countries  already  in  advance  ;  and  identity  of  language 
points  to  our  best  resource.  To  furnish  inducements,  we  pro- 
vide for  the  Professors  separate  buildings,  in  which  themselves 
and  their  families  may  be  handsomely  and  comfortably  lodged, 
and  to  liberal  salaries  will  be  added  lucrative  perquisites.  This 
institution  will  be  based  on  the  illimitable  freedom  of  the  human 
mind.  For  here  we  are  not  afraid  to  follow  truth  wherever  it 
may  lead,  nor  to  tolerate  any  error  so  long  as  reason  is  left  free 
to  combat  it. 

We  are  looking  with  wonder  at  what  is  passing  among  yon. 

"  Eesembles  ocean  into  tempest  wrouglit, 
To  waft  a  feather,  or  to  drown  a  fly." 

There  must  be  something  in  these  agitations  more  than  meets 
the  eye  of  a  distant  spectator.  Your  queen  must  be  used  in  this 
as  a  rallying  point  merely,  around  which  are  gathering  the  dis- 
contents of  every  quarter  and  character.  If  these  flowed  from 
theories  of  government  only,  and  if  merely  from  the  heads  of 
speculative  men,  they  would  admit  of  parley,  of  negotiation,  of 
management.  But  I  fear  they  are  the  workings  of  hungry  bel- 
lies, which  nothing  but  food  will  fill  and  quiet.  I  sincerely  wish 
you  safely  out  of  them.  Circumstances  have  nourished  between 
our  kindred  countries  angry  dispositions  which  both  ought  long 
since  to  have  banished  from  their  bosoms.  I  have  ever  consid- 
ered a  cordial  affection  as  the  first  interest  of  both.  No  nation 
on  earth  can  hurt  us  so  much  as  yours,  none  be  more  useful  to 
you  than  ours.  The  obstacle,  we  have  believed,  was  in  the 
obstinate  and  unforgiving  temper  of  your  late  king,  and  a  con- 


tinuance  of  his  prejudices  kept  up  from  habit,  after  he  was  with 
drawn  from  power.  I  hope  T  now  see  symptoms  of  sounder 
views  in  your  government ;  in  which  I  know  it  will  be  cordially 
met  by  ours,  as  it  would  have  been  by  every  administration 
which  has  existed  under  our  present  constitution.  None  desired 
it  more  cordially  than  myself,  whatever  different  opinions  were 
impressed  on  your  government  by  a  party  who  wishes  to  have 
its  weight  in  their  scale  as  its  exclusive  friends. 

My  ancient  friend  and  classmate,  James  Maury,  informs  me  by 
letter  that  he  has  sent  me  a  bust  which  I  shall  receive  with  great 
pleasure  and  thankfulness,  and  shall  arrange  in  honorable  file  with 
those  of  some  cherished  characters.  Will  you  permit  me  to 
place  here  my  affectionate  souvenirs  of  him,  and  accept  for  your- 
self the  assurance  of  the  highest  consideration  and  esteem. 


MoNTiCEi,i,o.  January  19,  1821. 

Deah-  Francis, — Your  letter  of  the  1st  came  safely  to  hand. 
I  am  sorry  you  have  lost  Mr.  Elliot,  however  the  kindness  of 
Dr.  Cooper  will  be  able  to  keep  you  in  the  track  of  what  is 
worthy  of  your  time. 

You  ask  my  opinion  of  Lord  Bolingbroke  and  Thomas  Paine. 
They  were  alike  in  making  bitter  enemies  of  the  priests  and 
pharisees  of  their  day.  Both  were  honest  men  ;  both  advocates 
for  human  liberty.  Paine  wrote  for  a  country  which  permitted 
him  to  push  his  reasoning  to  whatever  length  it  would  go.  Lord 
Bolingbroke  in  one  restrained  by  a  constitution,  and  by  public 
opinion.  He  was  called  indeed  a  tory ;  but  his  writings  prove 
him  a  stronger  advocate  for  libei'ty  than  any  of  his  countrymen, 
the  whigs  of  the  present  day.  Irritated  by  his  exile,  he  com- 
mitted one  act  unworthy  of  him,  in  connecting  himself  momen- 
tarily with  a  prince  rejected  by  his  country.  But  he  redeemed 
that  single  act  by  his  establishment  of  the  principles  which  proved 
it  to  be  wrong.     These  two  persons  differed  remarkably  in  the 


style  of  their  writing,  each  leaving  a  model  of  what  is  most  per- 
fect in  both  extremes  of  the  simple  and  the  sublime.  No  writer 
has  exceeded  Paine  in  ease  and  familiarity  of  style,  in  perspi- 
cuity of  expression,  happiness  of  elucidation,  and  in  simple  and 
unassuming  language.  In  this  he  may  be  compared  with  Dr. 
Franklin  ;  and  indeed  his  Common  Sense  was,  for  awhile,  be- 
lieved to  have  been  written  by  Dr.  Franklin,  and  published  un- 
der the  borrowed  name  of  Paine,  who  had  come  over  with  him 
from  England.  Lord  Bolingbrbke's,  on  the  other  hand,  is  a 
style  of  the  highest  order.  The  lofty,  rythmical,  full-flowing 
eloquence  of  Cicero.  Periods  of  just  measure,  their  members 
proportioned,  their  close  full  and  round.  His  conceptions,  too, 
are  bold  and  strong,  his  diction  copious,  polished  and  command- 
ing as  his  subject.  His  writings  are  certainly  the  finest  samples 
in  the  English  language,  of  the  eloquence  proper  for  the  Senate. 
His  political  tracts  are  safe  reading  for  the  most  timid  religion- 
ist, his  philosophical,  for  those  who  are  not  afraid  to  trust  their 
reason  with  disc^ussions  of  right  and  wrong. 

You  have  asked  my  opinion  of  these  persons,  and,  to  you,  I 
have  given  it  freely.  But,  remember,  that  I  am  old,  that  I  wish 
not  to  make  new  enemies,  nor  to  give  offence  to  those  who 
would  consider  a  difference  of  opinion  as  sufficient  ground  for 
unfriendly  dispositions.  God  bless  you,  and  make  you  what  I 
wish  you  to  be. 


MoNTicKLi.o,  January  19,  1821. 

Dear  Sib, — I  duly  received  your  favor  of  the  11th,  covering 
Judge  Roane's  letter,  which  I  now  return.  Of  the  kindness 
of  his  sentiments  expressed  towards  myself  I  am  highly  sensi- 
ble ;  and  could  I  believe  that  my  public  services  had  merited  the 
approbation  he  so  indulgently  bestows,  the  satisfaction  I  should 
derive  from  it  would  be  reward  enough  to  his  wish  that  I  would 
take  a  part  in  the  transactions  of  the  present  day.     I  am  sensi- 


ble  of  my  incompetence.  For  first,  I  know  little  about  them, 
having  long  withdrawn  my  attention  from  public  affairs,  and  re- 
signed myself  with  folded  arms  to  the  care  of  those  who  are  to 
care  for  us  all.  And,  next,  the  hand  of  time  pressing  heavily  on 
me,  in  mind  as  well  as  body,  leaves  to  neither  sufficient  energy 
to  engage  in  public  contentions.  I  am  sensible  of  the  inroads 
daiiy  making  by  the  federal,  into  the  jurisdiction  of  its  co-ordi- 
nate associates,  the  State  governments.  The  legislative  and  ex- 
ecutive branches  may  sometimes  err,  but  elections  and  depend- 
ence will  bring  them  to  rights.  The  judiciary  branch  is  the 
instrument  which,  working  like  gravity,  without  intermission,  is 
to  press  us  at  last  into  one  consolidated  mass.  Against  this  I 
know  no  one  who,  equally  with  Judge  Roane  himself,  possesses 
the  power  and  the  courage  to  make  resistance  ;  and  to  him  1 
look,  and  have  long  looked,  as  our  strongest  bulwark.  If  Con- 
gress fails  to  shield  the  States  from  dangers  so  palpable  and  so 
imminent,  the  States  must  shield  themselves,  and  meet  the  in- 
vader foot  to  foot.  This  is  already  half  done  by  Colonel  Tay- 
lor's book  ;  because  a  conviction  that  we  are  right  accomplishes 
half  the  difficulty  of  correcting  wrong.  This  book  is  the  most 
effectual  retraction  of  our  government  to  its  original  principles 
whi  h  has  ever  yet  been  sent  by  heaven  to  our  aid.  Every 
State  in  the  Union  should  give  a  copy  to  every  member  they 
elect,  as  a  standing  instruction,  and  ours  should  set  the  example. 
Accept  with  Mrs.  Thweat  the  assurance  of  my  affectionate  and 
respectful  attachment. 


MoN'TicKLLO,  January  2'2,  1821. 

X  was  quite  rejoiced,  dear  Sir,  to  see  that  you  had  health  and 
spirits  enough  to  take  part  in  the  late  convention  of  your  State, 
for  revising  its  constitution,  and  to  bear  your  share  in  its  debates 
and  labors.  The  amendments  of  which  we  have  as  yet  heard, 
prove  the  advance  of  liberalism  in  the  intervening  period ;  and 


encourage  a  hope  that  the  human  mind  will  some  day  get  back 
to  the  freedom  it  enjoyed  two  thousand  years  ago.  This  coun- 
try, which  has  given  to  the  world  the  example  of  physical  liber- 
ty, owes  to  it  that  of  moral  emancipation  also,  for  as  yet  it  is  but 
nominal  with  us.  The  inquisition  of  public  opinion  overwhelms 
in  practice,  the  freedom  asserted  by  the  laws  in  theory. 

Our  anxieties  ia  this  quarter  are  all  concentrated  in  the  ques- 
tion, what  does  the  Holy  Alliance  in  and  out  of  Congress  mean 
to  do  with  us  on  the  Missouri  question  ?  And  this,  by-the-bye, 
is  but  the  name  of  the  case,  it  is  only  the  John  Doe  or  Richard 
Roe  of  the  ejectment.  The  real  question,  as  seen  in  the  States 
afflicted  with  this  unfortunate  population,  is,  are  our  slaves  to  be 
presented  with  freedom  and  a  dagger  ?  For  if  Congress  has  the 
power  to  regulate  the  conditions  of  the  inhabitants  of  the  States, 
within  the  States,  it  will  be  but  another  exercise  of  that  power, 
to  declare  that  all  shall  be  free.  Are  we  then  to  see  again  Athe- 
nian and  Lacedemonian  confederacies  ?  To  wage  another  Pelo- 
ponnesian  war  to  settle  the  ascendency  between  them  ?  Or  is 
this  the  tocsin  of  merely  a  servile  war  ?  That  remains  to  be 
seen ;  but  not,  I  hope,  by  you  or  me.  Surely,  they  will  parley 
awhile,  and  give  us  time  to  get  out  of  the  way.  What  a  Bed- 
lamite is  man  ?  But  let  us  turn  from  our  ov/n  uneasiness  to  the 
miseries  of  our  southern  friends.  Bolivar  and  Morillo,  it  seems, 
have  come  to  the  parley,  with  dispositions  at  length  to  stop  the 
useless  effusion  of  human  blood  in  that  quarter.  I  feared  from 
the  beginning,  that  these  people  were  not  yet  sufficiently  enlight- 
ened for  self-government ;  and  that  after  wading  through  blood 
and  slaughter,  they  would  end  in  military  tyrannies,  more  or  less 
numerous.  Yet  as  they  wished  to  try  the  experiment,  I  wished 
them  success  in  it ;  they  have  now  tried  it,  and  will  possibly  find 
that  their  safest  road  will  be  an  accommodation  with  the  mother 
country,  which  shall  hold  them  together  by  the  single  hnk  of 
the  same  chief  magistrate,  leaving  to  him  power  enough  to  keep 
them  in  peace  with  one  another,  and  to  themselves  the  essential 
power  of  self-government  and  self-improvement,  until  they  shall 
be  sufficiently  trained  by  education  and  habits  of  freedom,  to 


walk  safely  by  themselves.  Representative  government,  native 
functionaries,  a  qualified  negative  on  their  laws,  with  a  previous 
security  by  compact  for  freedom  of  commerce,  freedom  of  the 
press,  habeas  corpus  and  trial  by  jury,  would  make  a  good  be- 
ginning. This  last  would  be  the  school  in  which  their  people 
might  begin  to  learn  the  exercise  of  civic  duties  as  well  as  rights. 
For  freedom  of  religion  they  are  not  yet  prepared.  The  scales 
of  bigotry  have  not  sufficiently  fallen  from  their  eyes,  to  accept 
it  for  themselves  individually,  much  less  to  trust  others  with  it. 
But  that  will  come  in  time,  as  well  as  a  general  ripeness  to  break 
entirely  from  the  parent  stem.  You  see,  my  dear  Sir,  how 
easily  we  prescribe  for  others  a  cure  for  their  difficulties,  while 
we  cannot  cure  our  own.  We  must  leave  both,  I  believe,  to 
heaven,  and  wrap  ourselves  up  in  the  mantle  of  resignation,  and 
of  that  friendship  of  which  I  tender  to  you  the  most  sincere  as- 
surances. V 

TO    JOSEPH    C.    CABELL. 

M(;m[ckllo,  January  31,  1821. 

Deab  Sie, — Your  favors  of  the  18th  and  25th  came  together, 
three  days  ago.  They  fill  me  with  gloom  as  to  the  dispositions 
of  our  legislature  towards  the  University.  I  perceive  that  I  am 
not  to  live  to  see  it  opened.  As  to  what  had  better  be  done 
within  the  limits  of  their  will,  I  trust  with  entire  confidence  to 
what  yourself,  Gen.  Breckenridge  and  Mr.  Johnson  shall  think 
best.  You  will  see  what  is  practicable,  and  give  it  such  shape 
as  you  think  best.  If  a  loan  is  to  be  resorted  to,  I  think  sixty 
thousand  dollars  will  be  necessary,  including  the  library.  Its  in- 
stalments cannot  begin  until  those  of  the  former  loan  are  accom- 
plished ;  and  they  should  not  begin  later,  nor  be  less  than  thir- 
teen thousand  dollars  a  year.  (I  think  it  safe  to  retain  two  thon- 
oand  dollars  a  year  for  care  of  the  buildings,  improvement  of 
the  grounds,  and  unavoidable  contingencies.)  To  extingmsh 
this  second  loan,  will  require  between  five  and  six  instalments, 
which  will  carry  us  to  the  end  of  1833,  or  thirteen  years  from 


this  time.  My  individual  opinion  is,  that  we  had  better  not  open 
the  institution  until  the  buildings,  library,  and  all,  are  finished, 
and  our  funds  cleared  of  incumbrance.  These  buildings  oncts 
erected,  will  secure  the  full  object  infallibly  at  the  end  of  thirteen 
years,  and  as  much  earlier  as  the  legislature  shall  choose.  And 
if  we  were  to  begin  sooner,  with  half  funds  only,  it  would  satisfy 
the  common  mind,  prevent  their  aid  beyond  that  point,  and  our 
institution  remaining  at  that  forever,  would  be  no  more  than  the 
paltry  academies  we  now  have.  Even  with  the  whole  funds  we 
shall  be  reduced  to  six  professors.  Whjle  Harvard  will  still  prime 
it  over  us  with  her  twenty  professors.  How  many  of  our  youths 
she  now  has,  learning  the  lessons  of  anti-Missourianism,  I  know 
not ;  but  a  gentleman  lately  from  Princeton,  told  me  he  saw  there 
the  list  of  the  students  at  that  place,  and  that  more  than  half 
were  Virginians.  These  will  return  home,  no  doubt,  deeply  im- 
pressed with  the  sacred  principles  of  our  Holy  Alliance  of  re- 

But  the  gloomiest  of  all  prospects,  is  in  the  desertion  of  the 
best  friends  of  the  institution,  for  desertion  I  must  call  it.  I 
know  not  the  necessities  which  may  force  this  on  you.  General 
Cocke,  you  say,  will  explain  them  to  me ;  but  I  cannot  conceive 
them,  nor  persuade  myself  they  are  uncontrollable.  I  have  ever 
hoped,  that  yourself,  Gen.  Breckenridge  and  Mr.  Johnson  would 
stand  at  your  posts  in  the  legislature,  until  everything  was  effect- 
ed, and  the  institution  opened.  If  it  is  so  difficult  to  get  along 
with  all  the  energy  and  influence  of  our  present  colleagues  in  the 
legislature,  how  can  we  expect  to  proceed  at  all,  reducing  our 
moving  power?  I  know  well  your  devotion  to  your  country, 
and  your  foresight  of  the  awful  scenes  coming  on  her,  sooner  or 
later.  With  this  foresight,  what  service  can  we  ever  render  her 
equal  to  this  ?  What  object  of  our  lives  can  we  propose  so  im- 
portant ?  What  interest  of  our  own  which  ought  not  to  be  post- 
poned to  this?  Health,  time,  labor,  on  what  in  the  single  life 
which  nature  has  given  us,  can  these  be  better  bestowed  than  on 
this  immortal  boon  to  our  country  ?  The  exertions  and  the  mor- 
tifications are  temporary ;  the  benefit  eternal.    If  any  member  of 


our  college  of  visitors  could  justifiably  withdraw  from  this  sacred 
duty,  it  would  be  myself,  who,  quadragenis  stipendiis  jamdu- 
dum  peractis,  have  neither  vigor  of  body  nor  mind  left  to  keep 
the  field ;  but  I  will  die  in  the  last  ditch,  and  so  I  hope  you  will, 
my  friend,  as  well  as  our  firm-breasted  brothers  and  colleagues, 
Mr.  Johnson  and  Gen.  Breckenridge.  Nature  will  not  give  you 
a  second  life  wherein  to  atone  for  the  omissions  of  this.  Pray 
then,  dear  and  very  dear  Sir,  do  not  think  of  deserting  us,  but 
view  the  sacrifices  which  seem  to  stand  in  your  way,  as  the  lesser 
duties,  and  such  as  ought  to  be  postponed  to  this,  the  greatest  of 
all  Continue  with  us  in  these  holy  labors,  until  having  seen 
their  accomplishment,  we  may  say  with  old  Simeon,  "  nunc  di- 
mittas,  Domine."  Under  all  circumstances,  however,  of  praise 
or  blame,  I  shall  be  aflectionately  yours. 


MoNTiCELLo,  February  13,  1821. 

I  am  favored.  Sir,  with  your  letter  of  January  26th,  and  am 
duly  sensible  of  the  honor  proposed  of  giving  to  my  portrait  a 
place  among  the  benefactors  of  our  nation,  and  of  the  establish- 
ment of  West  Point  in  particular.  I  have  ever  considered  that 
establishment  as  of  major  importance  to  our  country,  and  in 
whatever  I  could  do  for  it,  I  viewed  myself  as  performing  a  duty 
only.  This  is  certainly  more  than  requited  by  the  kind  senti- 
ments expressed  in  your  letter.  The  real  debt  of  the  institution 
is  to  its  able  and  zealous  professors.  Mr.  Sully,  I  fear,  however, 
will  consider  the  trouble  of  his  journey,  and  the  employment  of 
his  fine  pencil,  as  illy  bestowed  on  an  ottamy  of  78.  Voltaire, 
when  requested  by  a  female  friend  to  sit  for  his  bust  by  the 
sculptor  Pigalle,  answered,  "  J'ai  soixante  seize  ans ;  et  M.  Pigalle 
doit,  dit-on  venir  modeler  mon  visage.  Mais,  Madame,  il  fau- 
drait  que  j'eusse  un  visage.  On  n'en  devinerait  a  peine  la  place 
mes  yeux  sont  enfonces  de  trois  pouces ;  mes  joues  sent  de  vieux 
parchemin  mal  coUes  sur  des  os  qui  ne  tiennent  a  rien.     Le  pcLi 


de  dents  que  j'avais  est  parti."  I  will  conclude,  however,  with 
him,  that  what  remains  is  at  your  service,  and  that  of  the  pencil 
of  Mr.  Sully.  I  shall  be  at  home  till  the  middle  of  April,  when 
I  shall  go  for  some  time  to  an  occasional  and  distant  residence. 
Within  this  term  Mr.  Sully  will  be  pleased  to  consult  his  own 
convenience,  in  which  the  state  of  the  roads  will  of  course  have 
great  weight.     Every  day  of  it  will  be  equal  with  me. 

I  pray  you.  Sir,  to  convey  to  the  brethren  of  your  institution, 
and  to  accept  for  yourself  also,  the  assurance  of  my  high  con- 
sideration and  regard. 


MoNiCELLO,  February  15,  1821. 

Deah  Sir, — I  learn,  with  deep  affliction,  that  nothing  is  likely 
to  be  done  for  our  University  this  year.  So  near  as  it  is  to  the 
shore  that  one  shove  more  would  land  it  there,  I  had  hoped  that 
would  be  given  ;  and  that  we  should  open  with  the  next  year  an 
institution  on  which  the  fortunes  of  our  country  may  depend  more 
than  may  meet  the  general  eye.  The  reflections  that  the  boys 
of  this  age  are  to  be  the  men  of  the  next ;  that  they  should  be 
prepared  to  receive  the  holy  charge  which  we  are  cherishing  to 
deliver  over  to  them  ;  that  in  establishing  an  institution  of  wis- 
dom for  them,  we  secure  it  to  all  our  future  generations  ;  that  in 
fulfilling  this  duty,  we  bring  home  to  our  OAvn  bosoms  the  sweet 
consolation  of  seeing  our  sons  rising  under  a  luminous  tuition, 
to  destinies  of  high  promise  ;  these  are  considerations  which  will 
occur  to  all ;  but  all,  I  fear,  do  not  see  the  speck  in  our  horizon 
which  is  to  burst  on  us  as  a  tornado,  sooner  or  later.  The  hne 
of  division  lately  marked  out  between  different  portions  of  our 
confederacy,  is  such  as  will  never,  I  fear,  be  obliterated,  and  we 
are  now  trusting  to  those  who  are  against  us  in  position  and  prin- 
ciple, to  fashion  to  their  own  form  the  minds  and  affections  of 
our  youth.  If,  as  has  been  estimated,  we  send  three  hundred 
thousand  dollars  a  year  to  the  northern  seminaries,  for  the  in- 


struction  of  our  own  sons,  then  we  must  have  there  five  hundred 
of  our  sons,  imbibing  opinions  and  principles  in  discord  with 
those  of  their  own  country.  This  canker  is  eating  on  the  vitak 
of  our  existence,  and  if  not  arrested  at  once,  will  be  beyond  re- 
medy.. We  are  now  certainly  fLirnishing  recruits  to  their  school. 
If  it  be  asked  what  are  we  to  do,  or  said  we  cannot  give  the  last 
lift  to  the  University  without  stopping  our  primary  schools,  and 
these  we  think  most  important ;  I  answer,  I  know  their  import- 
ance. Nobody  can  doubt  my  zeal  for  the  general  instruction 
of  the  people.  Who  first  started  that  idea  ?  I  may  surely  say, 
myself.  Turn  to  the  bill  in  the  revised  code,  which  I  drew  more 
than  forty  years  ago,  and  before  which  the  idea  of  a  plan  for  the 
education  of  the  people,  generally,  had  never  been  suggested  in 
this  State.  There  you  will  see  developed  the  first  rudiments  of 
the  whole  system  of  general  education  we  are  now  urging  and 
acting  on  ;  and  it  is  well  known  to  those  with  whom  I  have  acted 
on  this  subject,  that  I  never  have  proposed  a  sacrifice  of  the  pri- 
mary to  the  ultimate  grade  of  instruction.  Let  us  keep  our  eye 
steadily  on  the  whole  system.  If  we  cannot  do  everything  at 
once,  let  us  do  one  at  a  time.  The  primary  schools  need  no  pre- 
liminary expense  ;  the  ultimate  grade  requires  a  considerable  ex- 
penditure in  advance.  A  suspension  of  proceeding  for  a  year  or 
two  on  the  primary  schools,  and  an  application  of  the  whole  in- 
come, during  that  time,  to  the  completion  of  the  buildings  neces- 
sary for  the  University,  would  enable  us  then  to  start  both  institu- 
tions at  the  same  time.  The  intermediate  branch,  of  colleges, 
academies  and  private  classical  schools,  for  the  middle  grade,  may 
hereafter  receive  any  necessary  aids  when  the  funds  shall  become 
competent.  In  the  meantime,  they  are  going  on  sufficiently,  as 
they  have  ever  yet  gone  on,  at  the  private  expense  of  those  who 
use  them,  and  who  in  numbers  and  means  are  competent  to  their 
own  exigencies.  The  experience  of  three  years  has,  I  presume, 
left  no  doubt  that  the  present  plan  of  primary  schools,  of  putting 
money  into  the  hands  of  twelve  hundred  persons  acting  for  no- 
thing, and  under  no  responsibility,  is  entirely  inefiicient.  Some 
other  must  be  thought  of;  and  during  this  pause,  if  it  be  only  for 


a  year,  the  whole  revenue  of  that  year,  with  that  of  the  last  three 
years  which  has  not  been  already  thrown  away,  would  place  our 
University  in  readiness  to  start  with  a  better  organization  of  pri- 
mary schools,  and  both  may  then  go  on,  hand  in  hand,  forever. 
No  diminution  of  the  capital  will  in  this  way  have  been  incurred ; 
a  principle  which  ought  to  be  deemed  sacred.  A  relinquishment 
of  interest  on  the  late  loan  of  sixty  thousand  dollars,  would  so  far, 
also,  forward  the  University  without  lessening  the  capital. 

But  what  may  be  best  done  I  leave  with  entire  confidence  to 
yourself  and  your  colleagues  in  legislation,  who  know  better 
than  I  do  the  conditions  of  the  literary  fund  and  its  wisest  ap- 
plication ;  and  I  shall  acquiesce  with  perfect  resignation  to  theii 
will.  I  have  brooded,  perhaps  with  fondness,  over  this  estab- 
lishment, as  it  held  up  to  me  the  hope  of  continuing  to  be  useful 
while  I  continued  to  live.  I  had  believed  that  the  course  and  cir- 
cumstances of  my  life  had  placed  within  my  power  soigne  services 
favorable  to  the  outset  of  the  institution.  But  this  may  be  egot- 
ism ;  pardonable,  perhaps,  .when  I  express  a  consciousness  that 
my  colleagues  and  successors  will  do  as  well,  whatever  the  leg- 
islature shall  enable  them  to  do. 

I  have  thus,  my  dear  Sir,  opened  my  bosom,  with  all  its  anxi- 
eties, freely  to  you.  I  blame  nobody  for  seeing  things  in  a  differ- 
ent light.  I  am  sure  that  all  act  conscientiously,  and  that  all  will 
be  done  honestly  and  wisely  which  can  be  done.  I  yield  the 
concerns  of  the  world  with  cheerfuhiess  to  those  who  are  ap- 
pointed in  the  order  of  nature  to  succeed  to  them  ;  and  for  your-* 
self,  for  our  colleagues,  and  for  all  in  charge  of  our  country's  fu- 
ture fame  and  fortune,  I  otfer  up  sincere  prayers. 


MoNTiOKLi.o,  February  26,  18-21. 

Dear  Sir, — While  you  were  in  this  neighborhood,  you  men- 
tioned to  me  your  intention  of  studying  the  law,  and  asked  my 
opinion  as  to  the  sufficient  course  of  reading.     I  gave  it  to  you, 


ore  tenns,  and  with  so  little  consideration  that  I  do  not  remem- 
ber what  it  was  ;  but  I  have  since  recollected  that  I  once  wrote 
a  letter  to  Dr.  Cooper,*  on  good  consideration  of  the  subject.  He 
was  then  law-lecturer,  I  believe,  at  Carlisle.  My  stiffening  wrist 
makes  writing  now  a  slow  and  painful  operation,  but  my  grand- 
daughter Ellen  undertakes  to  copy  the  letter,  which  I  shall  en- 
close herein. 

I  notice  in  that  letter  four  distinct  epochs  at  which  the  English 
laws  have  been  reviewed,  and  their  whole  body,  as  existing  at 
each  epoch,  well  digested  into  a  code.  These  digests  were  by 
Bracton,  Coke,  Matthew  Bacon  and  Blackstone.  Bracton  having 
written  about  the  commencement  of  the  extant  statutes,  may  be 
considered  as  having  given  a  digest  of  the  laws  then  in  being, 
written  and  unwritten,  and  forming,  therefore,  the  textual  code  of 
what  is  called  the  common  law,  just  at  the  period  too  when  it 
begins  to  be  altered  by  statutes  to  which  we  can  appeal.  But  so 
much  of  his  matter  is  become  obsolete  by  change  of  circum- 
stances or  altered  by  statute,  that  the  student  may  omit  him  for 
the  present,  and 

1st.  Begin  with  fCoke's  four  Institutes.  These  give  a  com- 
plete body  of  the  law  as  it  stood  in  the  reign  of  the  first  James, 
an  epoch  the  more  interesting  to  us,  as  we  separated  at  that  point 
from  English  legislation,  and  acknowledge  no  subse.;iuent  stat- 
utary  alterations. 

*  January  16,  1814 

f  Since  the  date  of  this  letter,  a  most  important  and  valuable  edition  has  been 
pi;blislied  of  CokeV  First  Institute.  The  editor,  Thomas,  has  analyzed  the  -whole 
work,  and  re-eomposed  its  matter  in  the  order  of  Blackstone's  Commentaries,  not 
omitting  a  sentence  of  Lord  Coke's  text,  nor  inserting  one  not  his.  In  notes,  un- 
der the  text,  he  has  given  the  modern  decisions  relating  to  the  same  subjects, 
rendering  it  thus  as  methodical,  lucid,  easy  and  agreeable  to  the  reader  as  Blaok- 
Btoue,  and  more  precise  and  profound.  It  can  now  be  no  longer  doubted  that 
this  is  the  very  best  elementary  work  for  a  beginner  in  the  study  of  the  law.  It 
is  not,  I  suppose,  to  be  had  in  this  State,  and  questionable  if  in  the  North,  as  yet, 
and  it  is  dear,  costing  iu  England  four  guineas  or  nineteen  dollars,  to  whieh  add 
the  duty  here  on  imported  books,  which,  on  the  three  volumes  8vo,  is  something 
more  than  three  dollars,  or  one  dollar  the  8to  volume.  This  is  a  tax  on  learned 
readers  to  support  printers  for  the  readers  of  "  The  Delicate  Distress,  and  The 
Wild  Irish  Boy" 


2.  Then  passing  over  (for  occasional  reading  as  hereafter  pro- 
posed) all  the  reports  and  treatises  to  the  time  of  Matthew  Ba- 
con, read  his  abridgment,  compiled  about  one  hundred  years  after 
Coke's,  in  which  they  are  all  embodied.  This  gives  numerous 
applications  of  the  old  principles  to  new  cases,  and  gives  the  gen- 
eral state  of  the  English  law  at  that  period. 

Here,  too,  the  student  should  take  up  the  chancery  branch  of 
the  law,  by  reading  the  first  and  second  abridgments  of  the  cases 
in  Equity.  The  second  is  by  the  same  Matthew  Bacon,  the  first 
having  been  published  some  time  before.  The  alphabetical  order 
adopted  by  Bacon,  is  certainly  not  as  satisfactory  as  the  system- 
atic. But  the  arrangement  is  under  very  general  and  leading 
heads,  and  these,  indeed,  with  very  little  difficulty,  might  be  sys- 
tematically instead  of  alphabetically  arranged  and  read. 

3.  Passing  now  in  like  manner  over  all  intervening  reports 
and  tracts,  the  student  may  take  up  Blackstone's  Commentaries, 
published  about  twenty-five  years  later  than  Bacon's  abridgment, 
and  giving  the  substance  of  these  new  reports  and  tracts.  This 
review  is  not  so  full  as  that  of  Bacon,  by  any  means,  but  better 
digested.  Here,  too,  Woodeson  should  be  read  as  supplementary 
to  Blackstone,  under  heads  too  shortly  treated  by  him.  Fou- 
blanque's  edition  of  Francis'  Maxims  of  Equity,  and  Bridgman's 
digested  Index,  into  which  the  latter  cases  are  incorporated,  are 
also  sujjplementary  in  the  chancery  branch,  in  which  Blackstone 
is  very  short. 

This  course  comprehends  about  twenty-six  8vo  volumes,  and 
reading  four  or  five  hours  a  day  would  employ  about  two  years. 

After  these,  the  best  of  the  reporters  since  Blackstone  should 
be  read  for  the  new  cases  which  have  occurred  since  his  time. 
Which  they  are  I  know  not,  as  all  of  them  are  since  my  time. 

By  way  of  change  and  relief  for  another  hour  or  two  in  the 
day,  should  be  read  the  law-tracts  of  merit  which  are  many,  and 
among  them  all  those  of  Baron  Gilbert  are  of  the  fii'st  order.  la 
these  hours,  too,  may  be  read  Bracton,  (now  translated,)  and  Jus- 
tinian's Institute.  The  method  of  these  two  last  works  is  very 
much  the  same,  and  their  language  often  quite  so.     Justinian  is 


*ery  illustrative  of  the  doctrines  of  equity,  and  is  often  appealea 
lo,  and  Cooper's  edition  is  the  best  on  account  of  the  analogies  and 
contrasts  he  has  given  of  the  Roman  and  Enghsh  law.  Aftor 
Bracton,  Reeves'  History  of  the  English  Law  may  he  read  to  ad- 
vantage. During  this  same  hour  or  two  of  lighter  law  reading, 
select  and  leading  cases  of  the  reporters  may  be  successively 
read,  which  the  several  digests  will  have  pointed  out  and  re- 
ferred to. 


I  have  here  sketched  the  reading  in  common  law  and  chan- 
cery which  I  suppose  necessary  for  a  reputable  practitioner  in 
those  courts.  But  there  are  other  branches  of  law  in  which,  al- 
though it  is  not  expected  he  should  be  an  adept,  yet  when  it 
occurs  to  speak  of  them,  it  should  be  understandingly  to  a  decent 
degree.  There  are  the  Admiralty  law,  Ecclesiastical  law,  and  the 
Law  of  Nations.  I  would  name  as  elementary  books  in  these 
branches,  Molloy  de  Jure  Maritimo.  Brown's  Compend  of  the 
Civil  and  Admiralty  Law,  2  vols.  8vo.  The  Jura  Ecclesiastica, 
2  vols.  8vo.  And  Les  Institutions  du  droit  de  la  Nature  et  des 
Gens  de  Reyneval,  1  vol.  8vo. 

Besides  these  six  hours  of  law  reading,  light  and  heavy,  and 
those  necessary  for  the  repasts  of  the  day,  for  exercise  and  sleep, 
which  suppose  to  be  ten  or  twelve,  there  will  still  be  six  or  eight 
hours  for  reading  history,  politics,  ethics,  physics,  oratory,  poetry, 
criticism,  &c.,  as  necessary  as  law  to  form  an  accomplished 

The  letter  to  Dr.  Cooper,  with  this  as  a  suppleriient,  will  give 
you  those  ideas  on  a  sufficient  course  of  law  reading  which  I 
ought  to  have  done  with  more  consideration  at  the  moment  of 
your  first  request.  Accept  them  now  as  a  testimony  of  my  es- 
teem, and  of  sincere  wishes  for  your  success  ;  and  the  family,  una 
voce,  desires  me  to  convey  theirs  with  my  own  affectionate  salu- 

vol..  VII.  14 



MoxTiOKLLO,  February  27,  1821, 

I  have  received,  Sir,  your  favor  of  the  12th,  and  I  assure  you 
I  received  it  with  pleasure.  It  is  true,  as  you  say,  that  we  have 
differed  in  political  opinions ;  but  I  can  say  with  equal  truth,  that 
I  never  suffered  a  political  to  become  a  personal  difference.  I 
have  been  left  on  this  ground  by  some  friends  whom  I  dearly 
loved,  but  I  was  never  the  first  to  separate.  With  some  others, 
of  politics  different  from  mine,  I  have  continued  in  the  warmest 
friendship  to  this  day,  and  to  all,  and  to  yourself  particularly,  1 
have  ever  done  moral  justice. 

I  thank  you  for  Mr.  Channing's  discourse,  which  you  have 
been  so  kind  as  to  forward  me.  It  is  not  yet  at  hand,  but  is 
doubtless  on  its  way.  I  had  received  it  through  another  chan- 
nel, and  read  it  with  high  satisfaction.  No  one  sees  with  greater 
pleasure  than  myself  the  progress  of  reason,  in  its  advances  to- 
wards rational  Christianity.  When  we  shall  have  done  away  the 
incomprehensible  jargon  of  the  Trinitarian  arithmetic,  that  three 
are  one,  and  one  is  three ;  when  we  shall  have  knocked  down 
the  artificial  scaffolding,  reared  to  mask  from  view  the  simple 
structure  of  Jesus ;  when,  in  short,  we  shall  have  unlearned  every- 
thing which  has  been  taught  since  his  day,  and  got  back  to  the 
pure  and  simple  doctrines  he  inculcated,  we  shall  then  be  truly 
and  worthily  his  disciples;  and  my  opinion  is  that  if  nothing  had 
ever  been  added  to  what  flowed  purely  from  his  lips,  the  whole 
world  would  at  this  day  have  been  Christian.  I  know  that  the 
case  you  cite,  of  Dr.  Drake,  has  been  a  common  one.  The  re- 
ligion-builders have  so  distorted  and  deformed  the  doctrines  of 
Jesus,  so  muffled  them  in  mysticisms,  fancies  and  falsehoods 
have  caricatured  them  into  forms  so  monstrous  and  inconceivable, 
as  to  shock  reasonable  thinkers,  to  revolt  them  against  the  whole, 
and  drive  them  rashly  to  pronounee  its  founder  an  impostor. 
Had  there  never  been  a  commentator,  there  never  would  have 
been  an  infidel.  In  the  present  advance  of  truth,  which  we  both 
approve,  I  do  not  know  that  you  and  I  may  think  alike  on  jJI 


points.  As  the  Creator  has  made  no  two  faces  alike,  so  no  two 
minds,  and  probably  no  two  creeds.  We  well  know  that  among 
Unitarians  themselves  there  are  strong  shades  of  difference,  as  be- 
tween Doctor<5  Price  and  Priestley,  for  example.  So  there  may 
be  peculiarities  in  your  creed  and  in  mine.  They  are  honestly 
formed  without  doubt.  I  do  not  wish  to  trouble  the  world  with 
mine,  nor  to  be  troubled  for  them.  These  accounts  are  to  be  set- 
tled only  with  him  who  made  us ;  and  to  him  we  leave  it,  with 
charity  for  all  others,  of  whom,  also,  he  is  the  only  rightful  and 
competent  judge.  I  have  little  doabt  that  the  whole  of  our  coun- 
try will  soon  be  rallied  to  the  unity  of  the  Creator,  and,  I  hope, 
to  the  piue  doctrines  of  Jesus  also. 

In  saying  to  you  so  much,  and  without  reserve,  on  a  subject 
on  which  I  never  permit  myself  to  go  before  the  public,  I  know 
that  I  am  safe  against  the  infidelities  which  have  so  often  be- 
trayed my  letters  to  the  strictures  of  those  for  whom  they  were 
not  written,  and  to  whom  I  never  meant  to  commit  my  peace. 
To  yourself  I  wish  every  happiness,  and  will  conclude,  as  you 
have  done,  in  the  same  simple  style  of  antiquity,  da  operam  ut 
valeas  ;  hoc  mihi  gratius  facere  nihil  potes. 


HoNTicELLo,  Mnrc-h  9,  1821. 

Dear  Sir, — I  am  indebted  for  your  favor  of  February  25th, 
and  especially  for  your  friendly  indulgence  to  my  excuses  for  re- 
tiring from  the  polemical  world.  I  should  not  shrink  from  the 
post  of  duty,  had  not  the  decays  of  nature  withdrawn  me  from 
the  list  of  combatants.  Great  decline  in  the  energies  of  the  body 
import  naturally  a  corresponding  wane  of  the  mind,  and  a  long- 
ing after  tranquillity  as  the  last  and  sweetest  asylum  of  age.  It 
is  a  law  of  nature  that  the  generations  of  men  should  give  way, 
one  to  another,  and  I  hope  that  the  one  now  on  the  stage  will 
preserve  for  their  sons  the  political  blessings  delivered  into  their 
hands  by  their  fathers.  Time  indeed  changes  manners  and  no- 
tions, and  so  far  we  must  expect  institutions  to  bend  to  them. 


But  tiire  produces  also  coiTuption  of  principles,  and  against  this 
it  is  the  duty  of  good  citizens  to  be  ever  on  the  watch,  and  if  the 
gangrene  is  to  prevail  at  last,  let  the  day  be  kept  off  as  long  as 
possible.  We  see  already  germs  of  this,  as  might  be  expected. 
But  we  are  not  the  less  bound  to  press  against  them.  The  mul- 
tiplication of  public  offices,  increase  of  expense  beyond  income, 
growth  and  entailment, of  a  public  debt,  are  indications  soliciting 
the  employment  of  the  pruning-knife  ;  and  I  doubt  not  it  will  be 
employed ;  good  principles  being  as  yet  prevalent  enough  for 

The  great  object  of  my  fear  is  the  federal  judiciary.  That 
body,  like  gravity,  ever  acting,  with  noiseless  foot,  and  unalarm- 
ing  advance,  gaining  ground  step  by  step,  and  holding  what  it 
gains,  is  ingulphing  insidiously  the  special  governments  into  the 
jaws  of  that  which  feeds  them.  The  recent  recall  to  first  prin- 
ciples, however,  by  Colonel  Taylor,  by  yourself,  and  now  by 
Alexander  Smith,  will,  I  hope,  be  heard  and  obeyed,  and  that  a 
temporary  cheek  will  be  effected.  Yet  be  not  weary  of  well 
doing.     Let  the  eye  of  vigilance  never  be  closed. 

Last  and  most  portentous  of  all  is  the  Missouri  question.  It  is 
smeared  over  for  the  present ;  but  its  geographical  demarcation  is 
indelible.  What  it  is  to  become,  I  see  not ;  and  leave  to  those 
who  will  live  to  see  it.  The  University  will  give  employment 
to  my  remaining  years,  and  quite  enough  for  my  senile  faculties. 
It  is  the  last  act  of  usefulness  I  can  render,  and  could  I  see  it 
open  I  would  not  ask  an  hour  more  of  life.  To  you  I  hope 
many  will  still  be  given ;  and,  certain  they  will  all  be  employed 
for  the  good  of  our  beloved  country,  I  salute  you  with  sentiments 
of  especial  friendship  and  respect. 


MoNTiOELLo.  June  27,  1821. 
Deab  Sir, — I  have  received  through  the  hands  of  the  Gover- 
aor,  Colonel  Taylor's  letter  to  you.     It  is  with  extreme  reluctance 


that  I  permit  myself  to  usurp  the  office  of  an  adviser  of  tlie  pub- 
lic, what  books  they  should  read,  and  what  not.  I  yield,  how- 
ever, on  this  occasion  to  your  wish  and  that  of  Colonel  Taylor, 
and  do  what  (with  a  single  exception  only)  I  never  did  before, 
on  the  many  similar  applications  made  to  me.  On  reviewiiig 
my  letters  to  Colonel  Taylor  and  to  Mr.  Thweatt,  neither  ap- 
peared exactly  proper.  Each  contained  matter  which  might  give 
offence  to  the  judges,  without  adding  strength  to  the  opinion.  I 
have,  therefore,  out  of  the  two,  cooked  up  what  may  be  called 
"an  extract  of  a  letter  from  Th:  J.  to ;"  but  without  say- 
ing it  is  published  with  my  consent.  That  would  forever  deprive 
me  of  the  ground  of  declining  the  office  of  a  Reviewer  of  books 
in  future  cases.  I  sincerely  wish  the  attention  of  the  public  may 
be  drawn  to  the  doctrines  of  the  book  ;  and  if  this  self-styled 
-extract  may  contribute  to  it,  I  shall  be  gratified.  I  salute  you 
with  constant  friendship  and  respect. 


I  have  read  Colonel  Taylor's  book  of  "  Constructions  Con- 
strued," with  great  satisfaction,  and,  I  will  say,  with  edification  ; 
for  I  acknowledge  it  corrected  some  errors  of  opinion  into  which 
I  had  slidden  without  sufficient  examination.  It  is  Ihe  most 
logical  retraction  of  our  governments  to  the  original  and  true 
principles  of  the  constitution  creating  them,  which  has  appeared 
since  the  adoption  of  that  instrument.  I  may  not  perhaps  concur 
in  all  its  opinions,  great  and  small ;  for  no  two  men  ever  thought 
alike  on  so  many  points.  But  on  all  its  important  questions,  it 
contains  the  true  political  faith,  to  which  every  catholic  repub- 
lican should  steadfastly  hold.  It  should  be  put  into  the  hands 
of  all  our  functionaries,  authoritatively,  as  a  standing  instruction, 
and  true  exposition  of  our  Constitution,  as  understood  at  the  time 
we  agreed  to  it.  It  is  a  fatal  heresy  to  suppose  that  either  our 
State  governments  are  superior  to  the  federal,  or  the  federal  to 
the  States.  The  people,  to  whom  all  authority  belongs,  have 
divided  the  powers  of  government  into  two  distinct  departments, 
the  leading  characters  of  which  are  foreign  and  domestic ;  and 


they  l.a\t  appointed  for  each  a  distinct  set  of  fanctiouaries 
These  they  have  made  co-ordinate,  checking  and  balancing  each 
other,  hke  the  three  cardinal  departments  in  the  individual 
States:  each  equally  supreme  as  to  the  powers  delegated  to  it- 
self, and  neither  authorized  ultimately  to  decide  what  belongs  to 
itself,  or  to  its  coparcenor  in  government.  As  independent,  in 
tact,  as  different  nations,  a  spirit  of  forbearance  and  compromi.°e, 
therefore,  and  not  of  encroachment  and  usurpation,  is  the  healing 
balm  of  such  a  constitution  ;  and  each  party  should  prudently 
shrink  from  all  approach  to  the  line  of  demarcation,  instead  of 
rashly  overleaping  it,  or  throwing  grapples  ahead  to  haul  to  here- 
after. Bat,  finally,  the  peculiar  happiness  of  our  blessed  system 
is,  that  in  differences  of  opinion  between  these  different  sets  of 
servants,  the  appeal  is  to  neither,  but  to  their  employers  peace- 
ably assembled  by  their  representatives  in  Convention.  This  is 
more  rational  than  the  jus  fortioris,  or  the  cannon's  mouth,  the 
ultima  et  sola  ratio  regum. 


iloiNTiuKi.Lo,  Atigast  It,  1821, 

Dear  Sir, — Your  favor  of  the  8th  came  to  hand  yesterday 
evening.  I  hope  you  will  never  suppose  yom'  letters  to  be  among 
those  which  are  troublesome  to  me.  They  are  always  welcome, 
and  it  is  among  my  great  comforts  to  hear  from  my  ancient  col- 
leagues, and  to  know  that  they  are  well.  The  affectionate  recol- 
lection of  Mrs.  Dearborne,  cherished  by  our  family,  will  ever 
render  her  health  and  happiness  interesting  to  them.  You  are 
so  far  asteru  of  Mr.  Adams  and  myself,  that  you  must  not  yet  talk 
of  old  age.  1  am  happy  to  hear  of  his  good  health.  I  think  he 
will  outlive  us  all,  I  mean  the  Declaration-men,  although  our 
senior  siuce  the  death  of  Colonel  Floyd.  It  is  a  race  in  which  I 
have  no  ambition  to  win.  Man,  like  the  fruit  he  eats,  has  his 
period  of  ripeness.  Like  that,  too,  if  he  continues  longer  hang- 
ing to  the  stem,  it  is  but  au  useless  and  unsightly  appendage,     i 


rejoice  with  you  that  the  State  of  Missouri  is  at  length  a  membt-i 
of  our  Union.  Whether  the  question  it  excited  is  dead,  or  only 
sleepeth,  I  do  not  know.  I  see  only  that  it  has  given  resurrec- 
tion to  the  Hartford  convention  men.  They  have  had  the  ad- 
dress, by  playing  on  the  honest  feelings  of  our  former  friends,  to 
seduce  them  from  their  kindred  spirits,  and  to  borrow  their  weight 
into  the  federal  scale.  Desperate  of  regaining  power  under  po- 
litical distinctions,  they  have  adroitly  wriggled  into  its  seat  under 
the  auspices  of  morality,  and  are  again  in  the  ascendency  from 
which  their  sins  had  hurled  them.  It  is  indeed  of  little  con- 
sequence who  governs  us,  if  they  sincerely  and  zealously  cherish 
the  principles  of  union  and  republicanism. 

I  still  believe  that  the  Western  extension  of  our  confederacy 
will  ensure  its  duration,  by  overruling  local  factions,  which  might 
shake  a  smaller  association.  But  whatever  may  be  the  merit  or 
demerit  of  that  acquisition,  I  divide  it  with  my  colleagues,  to 
whose  councils  1  was  indebted  for  a  course  of  administration 
which,  notwithstanding  this  late  coalition  of  clay  and  brass,  will, 
I  hope,  continue  to  receive  the  approbation  of  our  country. 

The  portrait  by  Stewart  was  received  in  due  time  and  good 
order,  and  claims,  for  this  difficult  acquisition,  the  thanks  of  the 
family,  who  join  me  in  affectionate  souvenirs  of  Mrs.  Dearborne 
and  yourself.  My  particular  salutations  to  both  flow,  as  ever, 
from  the  heart,  continual  and  warm. 

TO    MR.    C.     HAMMOND. 

Mu.N'iicKj.ut,  August  18,  1821. 

SiK, — Your  favor  of  the  7th  is  just  now  received.  The  letter 
to  which  it  refers  was  written  by  me  with  the  sole  view  of  rec- 
ommending to  the  study  of  my  fellow  citizens  a  book  which  I 
considered  as  containing  more  genuine  doctrines  on  the  subject 
of  our  government,  and  carrying  us  back  more  truly  to  its  funda- 
mental principles,  than  any  one  which  had  been  written  since  the 
adoption  of  our  constitution.    As  confined  to  this  object.  I  thought, 


and  still  think,  its  language  as  plain  and  intelligible  as  I  can  make 
it.  But  when  we  see  inspired  writings  made  to  speak  whatever 
opposite  controversialists  wish  them  to  say,  we  cannot  ourselves 
expect  to  find  language  incapable  of  similar  distortion.  My  ex- 
pressions were  general ;  their  perversion  is  in  their  misapplication 
to  a  particular  case.  To  test  them  truly,  they  should  turn  to  the 
book  with  whose  opinion  they  profess  to  coincide.  If  the  book 
establishes  that  a  State  has  no  right  to  tax  the  monied  property 
within  its  limits,  or  that  it  can  be  called,  as  a  party,  to  the  bar 
of  the  federal  judiciary,  then  they  may  infer  that  -these  are  my 
Dpinions.  If  no  such  doctrines  are  there,  my  letter  does  not  au- 
thorize their  imputation  to  me. 

It  has  long,  however,  been  my  opinion,  and  I  have  never 
shrunk  from  its  expression,  (although  I  do  not  choose  to  put  it 
into  a  newspaper,  nor,  like  a  Priam  in  armor,  offer  myself  its 
champion,)  that  the  germ  of  dissolution  of  our  federal  govern- 
ment is  in  the  constitution  of  the  federal  judiciary;  an  irresponsi- 
ble body,  (for  impeachment  is  scarcely  a  scare-crow,)  working 
like  gravity  by  night  and  by  day,  gaining  a  little  to-day  and  a 
little  to-morrow,  and  advancing  its  noiseless  step  like  a  thief, 
over  the  field  of  jurisdiction,  until  all  shall  be  usurped  from  the 
States,  and  the  government  of  all  be  consolidated  into  one.  To 
this  I  am  opposed  ;  because,  when  all  government,  domestic  and 
foreign,  in  little  as  in  great  things,  shall  be  drawn  to  Washing- 
ton as  the  centre  of  ail  power,  it  will  render  powerless  the  checks 
provided  of  one  government  on  another,  and  will  become  as 
venal  and  oppressive  as  the  government  from  which  we  separat- 
ed. It  will  be  as  in  Europe,  where  every  man  must  be  eithei 
pike  or  gudgeon,  hammer  or  anvil.  Our  functionaries  and  theirs 
are  wares  from  the  same  work-shop  ;  made  of  the  same  materials, 
and  by  the  same  hand.  If  the  States  look  with  apathy  on  this 
silent  descent  of  their  government  into  the  gulf/  which  is  to 
swallow  all,  we  have  only  to  weep  over  the  human  character 
formed  uncoutrolable  but  by  a  rod  of  iron,  and  the  blasphemers 
of  man,  as  incapable  of  self-government,  become  his  true  histo- 


But  let  me  beseech  yon,  Sir,  not  to  let  this  letter  get  into  a 
newspaper.  Tranquillity,  at  my  age,  is  the  supreme  good  of  life. 
I  think  it  a  duty,  and  it  is  my  earnest  wish,  to  take  no  further 
part  in  public  affairs ;  to  leave  them  to  the  existing  generation  to 
whose  turn  they  have  fallen,  and  to  resign  the  remains  of  a  de- 
caying body  and  mind  to  their  protection.  The  abuse  of  confi- 
dence by  publishing  my  letters  has  cost  me  more  than  all  other 
pains,  and  make  me  afraid  to  put  pen  to  paper  in  a  letter  of  sen- 
timent. If  I  have  done  it  frankly  in  answer  to  your  letter,  it  is 
in  full  trust  that  I  shall  not  be  thrown  by  you  into  the  arena  of 
a  newspaper.     I  salute  you  with  great  respect. 


MoNTicELLo,  September  12,  1821. 

Dear  Sir, — I  am  just  returned  from  my  other  home,  and  shall 
within  a  week  go  back  to  it  for  the  rest  of  the  autumn.  I  find 
here  your  favor  of  August  20th,  and  was  before  in  arrear  for  that 
of  May  19th.  I  cannot  answer,  but  join  in,  your  question  of  May 
19th.  Are  we  to  surrender  the  pleasing  hopes  of  seeing  improve- 
ment in  the  moral  and  intellectual  condition  of  man  ?  The 
events  of  Naples  and  Piedmont  cast  a  gloomy  cloud  over  that 
hope,  and  Spain  and  Portugal  are  not  beyond  jeopardy.  And 
what  are  we  to  think  of  this  northern  triumvirate,  arming  their 
nations  to  dictate  despotisms  to  the  rest  of  the  world  ?  And  the 
evident  connivance  of  England,  as  the  price  of  secret  stipulations 
for  contiqental  armies,  if  her  own  should  take  side  with  her  mal- 
content and  pulverized  people  ?  And  what  of  the  poor  Greeks, 
and  their  small  chance  of  amelioration  even  if  the  hypocritical 
Autocrat  should  take  them  under  the  iron  cover  of  his  Ukazes 
Would  this  be  lighter  or  safer  than  that  of  the  Turk  ?  These, 
my  dear  friend,  are  speculations  for  the  new  generation,  as, 
before  they  will  be  resolved,  you  and  I  must  join  our  deceased 
brother  Floyd.  Yet  I  will  not  believe  our  labors  are  lost,  i 
shall  not  die  without  a  hope  that  light  and  liberty  are  on  steady 


advance.  We  have  seen,  indeed,  once  within  the  records  of  his- 
tory, a  complete  eclipse  of  the  human  mind  continuing  for  centu- 
ries. And  this,  too,  by  swarms  of  the  same  northern  barbarians, 
conquering  and  taking  possession  of  the  countries  and  govern- 
ments of  the  civilized  world.  Should  this  be  again  attempted, 
should  the  same  northern  hordes,  allured  again  by  the  corn,  wine, 
and  oil  of  the  south,  be  able  again  to  settle  their  swarms  in  the 
countries  of  their  growth,  the  art  of  printing  alone,  and  the  vast 
dissemination  of  books,  will  maintain  the  mind  where  it  is,  and 
raise  the  conquering  ruffians  to  the  level  of  the  conquered,  in- 
stead of  degrading  these  to  that  of  their  conquerors.  And  even 
should  the  cloud  of  barbarism  and  despotism  again  obscure  the 
science  and  liberties  of  Europe,  this  country  remains  to  preserve 
and  restore  light  and  liberty  to  them.  In  short,  the  flames  kindled 
on  the  4th  of  July,  1776,  have  spread  over  too  much  of  the  globe 
to  be  extinguished  by  the  feeble  engines  of  despotism  ;  on  the  con- 
trary, they  will  consume  these  engines  and  all  who  work  them. 

I  think  with  you  that  there  should  be  a  school  of  instruction 
for  our  navy  as  well  as  artillery ;  and  I  do  not  see  why  the  same 
establishment  might  not  suffice  for  both.  Both  require  the  same 
basis  of  general  mathematics,  adding  projectiles  and  fortiiications 
for  the  artillery  exclusively,  and  astronomy  and  theory  of  naviga- 
tion exclusively  for  the  naval  students.  Berout  conducted  both 
schools  in  France,  and  has  left  us  the  best  book  extant  for  their 
joint  and  separate  instruction.  It  ought  not  to  require  a  sepa- 
rate professor. 

A  4th  of  July  oration  delivered  in  the  town  of  Milford,  in  your 
State,  gives  to  Samuel  Chase  the  credit  of  having  "  iirst  started 
the  cry  of  independence  in  the  ears  of  his  countrymen."  Do  you 
remember  anything  of  this  ?  I  do  not.  I  have  no  doubt  it  was 
uttered  in  Massachusetts  even  before  it  was  by  Thomas  Paine. 
But  certainly  I  never  considered  Samuel  Chase  as  foremost,  or 
even  forward  in  that  hallowed  cry.  I  know  that  Maryland  hung 
Vieavily  on  our  backs,  and  that  Chase,  although  first  named,  was 
not  most  in  unison  with  us  of  that  delegation,  either  in  politics 
or  morals,  d  c^est  ainsi  que  Von  ecrit  Vhistoire ! 


Your  doubt  of  the  legilimacj'  of  the  word  gloriola,  is  resolved 
by  Cicero,  who,  in  his  letter  to  Lucceius  expresses  a  wish  "wi 
nos  inetipsi  vivi  gloriola  nostra  perfruamur.^^  Affectionately 


Monti  ziLLu,  September  i'4,  1S21, 

Dear  Sik, — I  thank  you  for  your  favor  of  the  12th  instant. 
Hope  springs  eternal.  Eight  millions  of  Jews  hope  for  a  Messiah 
more  powerful  and  glorious  than  Moses,  David,  or  Solomon ; 
who  is  to  make  them  as  powerful  as  he  pleases.  Some  hundreds 
of  millions  of  Musslemen  expect  another  prophet  more  powerful 
than  Mahomet,  who  is  to  spread  Islamism  over  the  whole  earth. 
Hundreds  of  millions  of  Christians  expect  and  hope  for  a  millen- 
nium in  which  Jesus  is  to  reign  for  a  thousand  years  over  the 
whole  world  before  it  is  burnt  up.  The  Hindoos  expect  another 
and  final  incarnation  of  Vishnu,  who  is  to  do  great  and  wonder- 
ful things,  I  know  not  what.  All  these  hopes  are  founded  on 
real  or  pretended  revelation.  The  modern  Greeks,  too,  it  seems, 
hope  for  a  deliverer  who  is  to  produce  them — the  Themisto- 
cleses  and  Demostheneses — the  Platos  and  Aristotles — the  Solons 
and  Lycurguses.  On  what  prophecies  they  found  their  belief, 
1  know  not.  You  and  I  hope  for  splendid  improvements  in 
human  society,  and  vast  amelioration  in  the  condition  of  man- 
kind. Our  faith  may  be  supposed  by  more  rational  arguments 
than  any  of  the  former,  I  own  that  I  am  very  sanguine  in  the 
belief  of  them,  as  I  hope  and  believe  you  are,  and  your  reasoning 
in  your  letter  confirmed  me  in  them. 

As  Brother  Floyd  has  gone,  I  am  now  the  oldest  of  the  little 
Congressional  group  that  remain.  I  may  therefore  rationally 
hope  to  be  the  fii-st  to  depart ;  and  as  you  are  the  youngest  and 
most  energetic  in  mind  and  body,  you  may  therefore  rationally 
hope  to  be  the  last  to  take  your  flight,  and  to  rake  up  the  fire  as 
father  Sherman,  who  always  staid  to  the  last,  and  commonly 
two  days  afterwards,  used  to  say,  "  that  it  was  his  office  to  sit  up 


and  rake  the  ashes  over  the  coals."  And  much  satisfaction  ma3f 
you  have  in  your  ofRce. 

The  cholera  morbus  has  done  wonders  in  St.  Helena  and  in 
London.  We  shall  soon  hear  of  a  negotiation  for  a  second  wife. 
Whether  in  the  body,  or  out  of  the  body,  I  shall  always  be  your 

The  anecdote  of  Mr.  Chase,  contained  in  the  oration  delivered 
at  Milford,  must  be  an  idle  rumor,  for  neither  the  State  of  Mary- 
land, nor  of  their  delegates,  were  very  early  in  their  conviction 
of  the  necessity  of  independence,  nor  very  forward  in  promoting 
it.  The  old  speaker  Tilghman,  Johnson,  Chase,  and  Paca,  were 
steady  in  promoting  resistance,  but  after  some  of  them,  Maryland 
sent  one,  at  least,  of  the  most  turbulent  Tories  that  ever  came  to 

TO    . 

MoNricKLLo,  September  28,  1821. 

Sir, — The  government  of  the  United  States,  at  a  very  early 
period,  when  establishing  its  tariff  on  foreign  importations,  were 
very  much  guided  in  their  selection  of  objects  by  a  desire  to  en- 
courage manufactures  within  ourselves.  Among  other  articles 
then  selected  were  books,  on  the  importation  of  which  a  duty  of 
fifteen  per  cent,  was  imposed,  which,  by  ordinary  custom  house 
charges,  amount  to  about  eighteen  per  cent.,  and  adding  the  im- 
porting booksellers  profit  on  this,  becomes  about  twenty-seven 
per  cent.  This  was  useful  at  first,  perhaps,  towards  exciting  our 
printers  to  make  a  beginning  in  that  business  here.  But  it  is 
fouad  in  experience  that  the  home  demand  is  not  sufficient  to 
justify  the  re-printing  any  but  the  most  popular  English  works, 
and  cheap  editions  of  a  few  of  the  classics  for  schools.  For  the 
editions  of  value,  enriched  by  notes,  commentaries,  &c.,  and  for 
books  in  foreign  living  languages,  the  demand  here  is  too  small 
and  sparse  to  reimburse  the  expense  of  re-printing  them.  None 
of  these,  therefore,  are  printed  here,  and  the  duty  on  them  be- 
comes consequently  not  a  protecting,  but  really  a  prohibitory^  one 


It  makes  a  very  serious  addition  to  the  price  of  the  book,  and 
falls  chiefly  on  a  description  of  persons  little  able  to  meet  it. 
Students  who  are  destined  for  professional  callings,  as  most  of 
our  scholars  are,  are  barely  able  for  the  most  part  to  meet  the  ex- 
penses of  tuition.  The  addition  of  eighteen  or  twenty-seven  per 
cent,  on  the  books  necessary  for  their  instruction,  amounts  often 
to  a  prohibition  as  to  them.  For  want  of  these  aids,  which  are 
open  to  the  students  of  all  other  nations  but  our  own,  they  enter 
on  their  course  on  a  very  unequal  footing  with  those  of  the  same 
professions  in  foreign  countries,  and  our  citizens  at  large,  too, 
who  employ  them,  do  not  derive  from  that  employment  all  the 
benefit  which  higher  qualifiations  would  give  them.  It  is  true 
that  no  duty  is  required  on  books  imported  for  seminaries  o. 
learning,  but  these,  locked  up  in  libraries,  can  be  of  no  avail  to 
the  practical  man  when  he  wishes  a  recm-rence  to  them  for  the 
uses  of  life.  Of  many  important  books  of  reference  there  is  not 
perhaps  a  single  copy  in  the  United  States  ;  of  others  but  a  few, 
and  these  too  distant  often  to  be  accessible  to  scholars  generally. 
It  is  believed,  therefore,  that  if  the  attention  of  Congress  could 
be  drawn  to  this  article,  they  would,  in  their  wisdom,  see  its  im- 
policy. Science  is  more  important  in  a  republican  than  in  any 
other  government.  And  in  an  infant  country  like  ours,  we  must 
much  depend  for  improvement  on  the  science  of  other  countries, 
longer  established,  possessing  better  means,  and  more  advanced 
than  we  are.  To  prohibit  us  from  the  benefit  of  foreign  light, 
is  to  consign  us  to  long  darkness. 

The  northern  seminaries  following  with  parental  solicitude  the 
interests  of  their  eleves  in  the  course  for  which  they  have  pre- 
pared them,  propose  to  petition  Congress  on  this  subject,  and 
wish  for  the  cooperation  of  those  of  the  south  and  west,  and  I 
have  been  requested,  as  more  convenient  in  position  than  they 
are,  to  solicit  that  cooperation.  Having  no  personal  acquaintance  ■ 
with  those  who  are  charged  with  the  direction  of  the  college  of 
J  I  do  not  know  how  more  eflfectually  to  communi- 
cate these  views  to  them,  than  by  availing  myself  of  the  knowl- 
edge I  have  of  your  zeal  for  the  happiness  and  improvement  of 


our  country.  I  take  the  liberty,  therefore,  of  requesting  you  to 
place  the  subject  before  the  proper  authorities  of  that  institution, 
and  if  they  approve  the  measure,  to  solicit  a  concurrent  proceed- 
ing on  their  part  to  carry  it  into  effect.  Besides  petitioning  Con- 
gress, I  Nwould  propose  that  ihey  address  in  their  corporate  capac- 
ity, a  letter  to  their  delegates  and  senators  in  Congress,  soliciting 
their  best  endeavors  to  obtain  the  repeal  of  the  duty  on  imported 
books.  I  cannot  but  suppose  that  such  an  application  will  be  re- 
spected by  them,  and  will  engage  their  votes  and  endeavors  to 
effect  an  object  so  reasonable.  A  conviction  that  science  is  im- 
portant to  the  preservation  of  our  republican  government,  and 
that  it  is  also  essential  to  its  protection  against  foreign  power,  in- 
duces me,  on  this  occasion,  to  step  beyond  the  limits  of  that  re- 
tirement to  which  age  and  inclination  equally  dispose  me,  and  I 
am  without  a  doubt  that  the  same  considerations  will  induce  you 
to  excuse-the  trouble  I  propose  to  you,  and  that  you  will  kindly 
accept  the  assurance  of  my  high  respect  and  esteem. 


MoNTfCELLO,  November  23,  1821. 

Deae  Sir, — Absence  at  an  occasional  but  distant  residence, 
prevented  my  receiving  your  friendly  letter  of  October  20th  till 
three  days  ago.  A  line  from  my  good  old  friends  is  like  balm  to 
my  soul.  You  ask  me  what  you  are  to  do  with  my  letter  of 
September  19th  ?  I  wrote  it,  my  dear  Sir,  with  no  other  view 
than  to  pour  my  thoughts  into  your  bosom.  I  knew  they  would 
be  safe  there,  and  I  believed  they  would  be  welcome.  But  if 
you  think,  as  you  say,  that  "  good  may  be  done  by  showing  it  to 
a  few  well-tried  friends"  I  have  no  objection  to  that,  but  ulti- 
mately you  cannot  do  better  than  to  throw  it  into  the  fire. 

My  confidence,  as  you  kindly  observed,  has  been  often  abused 
by  the  publication  of  my  letters  for  the  purposes  of  interest  or 
vanity,  and  it  has  been  to  me  the  source  of  much  pain  to  be  ex- 
hibited before  the  public  in  forms  not  meant  for  them.     I  receive 

00REE8P0NDENCE.  223 

letters  expressed  in  the  most  friendly  and  even  affectionate  terms, 
sometimes,  perhaps,  asking  my'opinion  on  some  subject.  I  can- 
not refuse  to  answer  such  letters,  nor  can  I  do  it  dryly  and  sus- 
piciously. Among  a  score  or  two  of  such  correspondents,  one 
perhaps  betrays  me.  I  feel  it  mortifyingly,  but  conclude  I  had 
better  incur  one  treachery  than  offend  a  score  or  two  of  good 
people.  I  sometimes  expressly  desire  that  my  letter  may  not  be 
published  ;  but  this  is  so  like  requesting  a  man  not  to  steal  or 
cheat,  that  I  am  ashamed  of  it  after  I  have  done  it. 

Our  government  is  now  taking  so  steady  a  course  as  to  show 
by  what  road  it  will  pass  to  destruction,  to-wit :  by  consolida- 
tion first,  and  then  corruption,  its  necessary  consequence.  The 
engine  of  consolidation  will  be  the  federal  judiciary  ;  the  two 
other  branches,  the  corrupting  and  corrupted  instruments.  I  fear 
an  explosion  in  our  State  Legislature.  I  wish  they  may  restrain 
themselves  to  a  strong  but  temperate  protestation.  Virginia  is 
not  at  present  in  favor  with  her  co-States.  An  opposition  headed 
by  her  would  determine  all  the  anti-Missouri  States  to  take  the 
contrary  side.  She  had  better  lie  by,  therefore,  till  the  shoe  shall 
pinch  an  eastern  State.  Let  the  cry  be  first  raised  from  that 
quarter,  and  we  may  fall  into  it  with  effect.  But  I  fear  our  east- 
ern associates  wish  for  consolidation,  in  which  they  would  be 
joined  by  the  smaller  States  generally.  But,  with  one  foot  in 
the  grave,  I  have  no  right  to  meddle  with  these  things.  Ever 
and  affectionately  yours. 

TO  . 

iloNTicKLLo,  November  29,  1 821. 

Deah  Sih, — You  have  often  gratified  me  by  your  astronomi- 
cal communications,  and  I  am  now  about  to  amuse  you  with  one 
of  mine.  But  I  must  first  explain  the  circumstances  which  have 
drawn  me  into  a  speculation  so  foreign  to  the  path  of  life  which 
the  times  in  which  I  have  lived,  more  than  my  own  incliuatioos 
have  led  me  to  pm-sue. 


I  had  long  deemed  it  incumbent  on  the  authorities  of  our 
country,  to  have  the  great  western  wilderness  beyond  the  Mis- 
sissippi, explored,  to  make  known  its  geography,  its  natural  pro- 
ductions, its  general  character  and  inhabitants.  Two  attempts 
which  I  had  myself  made  formerly,  before  the  country  was  ours, 
the  one  from  west  to  east,  the  other  from  east  to  west,  had  both 
proved  abortive.  When  called  to  the  administration  of  the  gen- 
eral government,  I  made  this  an  object  of  early  attention,  and  pro- 
posed it  to  Congress.  They  voted  a  sum  of  five  thousand  dollars 
for  its  execution,  and  I  placed  Captain  Lewis  at  the  head  of  the 
enterprise'  No  man  within  the  range  of  my  acquaintance,  united 
so  manj  -jf  the  qualifications  necessary  for  its  successful  directiori. 
But  he  had  not  received  such  an  astronomical  education  as  might 
enable  him  to  give  us  the  geography  of  the  country  with  the 
precision  desired.  The  Missouri  and  Columbia,  which  were  to 
constitute  the  tract  of  his  journey,  were  rivers  which  varied  little 
in  their  progressive  latitudes,  but  changed  their  longitudes  rapidly 
and  at  every  step.  To  qualify  him  for  making  these  observa- 
tions, so  important  to  the  value  of  the  enterprise,  I  encouraged 
him  to  apply  himself  to  this  particular  object,  and  gave  him 
letters  to  Doctor  Patterson  and  Mr.  Ellicott,  requesting  them  to  in- 
struct him  in  the  necessary  processes.  Those  for  the  longitude 
would  of  course  be  founded  on  the  lunar  distances.  But  as  these 
require  essentially  the  aid  of  a  time-keeper,  it  occurred  to  me  that 
during  a  journey  of  two,  three,  or  four  years,  exposed  to  so  many 
accidents  as  himself  and  the  instrument  would  be,  we  might  ex- 
pect with  certainty  that  it  would  become  deranged,  and  in  a 
desert  country  where  it  could  not  be  repaired.  I  thought  it  then 
highly  important  that  some  means  of  observation  should  be  fur- 
nished him,  if  any  could  be,  which  should  be  practicable  aud 
competejit  to  ascertain  his  longitudes  in  that  event.  The  equa- 
torial occurred  to  myself  as  the  most  promising  substitute.  I  ob- 
served only  that  Ramsden,  in  his  explanation  of  its  uses,  and 
particularly  that  of  finding  the  longitude  at  land,  still  required 
his  observer  to  have  the  aid  of  a  time-keeper.  But  this  cannot 
be  necessary,  for  the  margin  of  the  equatorial  circle  of  this  in- 


strument  being  divided  into  time  by  bonrs,  minutes,  and  seconds, 
supplies  the  main  functions  of  the  time-keeper,  and  for  measur- 
ing merely  the  interval  of  the  observations,  is  such  as  not  to  be 
neglected.  A  portable  pendulum,  for  counting,  by  an  assistant. 
would  fully  answer  that  purpose.  I  suggested  my  fears  to  sev- 
eral of  our  best  astronomical  friends,  and  my  wishes  that  other 
processes  should  be  furnished  him,  if  any  could  be,  which  might 
guard  us  ultimately  from  disappointment.  Several  other  methods 
were  proposed,  but  all  requiring  the  use  of  a  time-keeper.  That 
of  the  equatorial  being  recommended  by  none,  and  other  duties 
refusing  me  time  for  protracted  consultations,  I  relinquished  the 
idea  for  that  occasion.  But,  if  a  sound  one,  it  should  not  be 
abandoned.  Those  deserts  are  yet  to  be  explored,  and  their  ge- 
ography given  tQ  the  world  and  ourselves  with  a  correctness 
worthy  of  the  science  of  the  age.  The  acquisition  of  the  coun- 
try before  Captain  Lewis'  departure  facilitated  our  enterprise,  but 
his  time-keeper  failed  early  in  his  journey.  His  dependence, 
then,  was  on  the  compass  and  log-line,  with  the  correction  of  lat- 
itudes only  ;  and  the  true  longitudes  of  the  different  points  of  the 
Missouri,  of  the  Stony  Mountains,  the  Columbia  and  Pacific,  at 
its  mouth,  remain  yet  to  be  obtained  by  future  enterprise. 

The  circumstance  which  occasions  a  recurrence  of  the  subject 
to  my  mind  at  this  time  particularly  is  this  :  our  legislature,  some 
time  ago,  came  to  a  determination  that  an  accurate  map  should 
be  made  of  our  State.  The  late  John  Wood  was  employed  on 
it.  Its  first  elements  are  prepared  by  maps  of  the  several  coun- 
ties. But  these  have  been  made  by  chain  and  compass  only, 
which  suppose  the  surface  of  the  earth  to  be  a  plane.  To  fit 
them  together,  they  must  be  accommodated  to  its  real  spherical 
surface  ;  and  this  can  be  done  only  by  observations  of  latitude 
and  longitude,  taken  at  different  points  of  the  area  to  which 
they  are  to  be  reduced.  It  is  true  that  in  the  lower  and  more 
populous  parts  of  the  State,  the  method  of  lunar  distances  by  the 
circle  or  sextant,  and  time-keeper,  may  be  used ;  because  those 
parts  furnish  means  of  repairing  or  replacing  a  deranged  time- 
keeper, But  the* deserts  beyond  the  Alleghany  are  as  destitute 
VOL.  vii.  1-5 


of  resource  in  that  case,  as  those  of  the  Missouri.  The  question 
then  recurs  whether  the  equatorial,  without  the  auxihary  of  a 
time-keeper,  is  not  competent  to  the  ascertainment  of  longitudes 
at  land,  where  a  fixed  meridian  can  always  be  obtained  ?  and 
whether  indeed  it  may  not  everywhere  at  land,  be  a  readier  and 
preferable  instrument  for  that  purpose  ?  To  these  questions  [ 
ask  your  attentions ;  and  to  show  the  grounds  on  which  I  enter- 
tain the  opinion  myself,  I  will  briefly  explain  the  principles  of 
the  process,  and  the  peculiarities  of  the  instrument  which  give  it 
the  competence  I  ascribe  to  it.  And  should  you  concur  in  the 
opinion,  I  will  further  ask  you  to  notice  any  particular  circum- 
stances claiming  attention  in  the  process,  and  the  corrections 
which  the  observations  may  necessarily  require.  As  to  myself, 
I  am  an  astronomer  of  theory  only,  little  versed  in  practical  ob- 
servations, and  the  minute  attentions  and  corrections  they  require. 
I  proceed  now  to  the  explanation. 

A  method  of  finding  the  longitude  of  a  place  at  land,  imthout 
a  time-keeper. 

If  two  persons,  at  different  points  of  the  same  hemisphere,  (as 
Greenwich  and  Washington,  for  example,)  observe  the  same  ce- 
lestial phenomenon,  at  the  same  instant  of  time,  the  difference  of 
the  times  marked  by  their  respective  clocks  is  the  difference  of 
their  longitudes,  or  the  distance  between  their  meridians.  To 
catch  with  precision  the  same  instant  of  time  for  these  simul- 
taneous observations,  the  moon's  motion  in  her  orbit  is  the  best 
element ;  her  change  of  place  (about  a  half  second  of  space  in 
a  second  of  time)  is  rapid  enough  to  be  ascertained  by  a  good 
instrument  with  sufficient  precision  for  the  object.  But  suppose 
the  observer  at  Washington,  or  in  a  desert,  to  be  without  a  time- 
keeper ;  the  equatorial  is  the  instrument  to  be  used  in  that  case. 
Again,  we  have  supposed  a  cotemporaneous  observer  at  Green- 
wich. But  his  functions  may  be  supplied  by  the  nautical  al- 
manac, adapted  to  that  place,  and  enabling  us  to  calculate  for 
any  instant  of  time  the  meridian  distances  there  of  the  heavenly 
bodies  necessary  to  be  observed  for  this  purpose. 

The  observer  at  Washington,  choosing  the  time  when  theii 


position  is  suitable,  is  to  adjust  his  equatorial  to  his  meridian,  to 
his  latitude,  and  to  the  plane  of  his  horizon  ;  or  if  he  is  in  a 
desert  where  neither  meridian  nor  latitude  is  yet  ascertained,  the 
advantages  of  this  noble  instrument  are,  that  it  enables  him  to 
find  both  in  the  course  of  a  few  hom-s.  Thus  prepared,  let  him 
ascertain  by  observation  the  right  ascension  of  the  moon  from 
that  of  a  known  star,  or  their  horary  distance  ;  and,  at  the  same 
instant,  her  horary  distance  from  his  meridian.  Her  right  ascen- 
sion at  the  instant  thus  ascertained,  enter  with  that  of  the  nautical 
almanac,  and  calculate,  by  its  tables,  what  was  her  horary  dis- 
tance from  the  meridian  of  Greenwich  at  the  instant  she  had  at- 
tained that  point  of  right  ascension,  or  that  horary  distance  from 
the  same  star.  The  addition  of  these  meridian  distances,  if  the 
moon  was  between  the  two  meridians,  or  the  subtraction  of  the 
lesser  from  the  greater,  if  she  was  on  the  same  side  of  both,  is 
the  differences  of  their  longitudes. 

This  general  theory  admits  different  cases,  of  which  the  ob- 
server may  avail  himself,  according  to  the  particular  position  of 
the  heavenly  bodies  at  the  moment  of  observation. 

Case  1st.  When  the  moon  is  on  his  meridian,  or  on  that  of 

Second.  When  the  star  is  on  either  meridian. 

Third.  When  the  moon  and  star  are  on  the  same  side  of  his 

Fourth.  When  they  are  on  different  sides. 

For  instantaneousness  of  observation,  the  equatorial  has  great 
advantage  over  the  circle  or  sextant ;  for  being  truly  placed  in 
the  meridian  beforehand,  the  telescope  may  be  directed  suf- 
ficiently in  advance  of  the  moon's  motion,  for  time  to  note  its 
place  on  the  equatorial  circle,  before  she  attains  that  point.  Then 
observe,  until  her  limb  touches  the  cross-hairs ;  and  in  that  in- 
stant direct  the  telescope  to  the  star ;  that  completes  the  observa- 
tion, and  the  place  of  the  star  mxay  be  read  at  leisure.  The  ap- 
paratus for  correcting  the  effects  of  refraction  and  parallax,  which 
is  fixed  on  the  eye-tube  of  the  telescope,  saves  time  by  render- 


ing  the  notation  of  altitudes  unnecessary,  and  dispenses  with  the 
use  of  either  a  time-keeper  or  portable  pendulum. 

I  have  observed  that,  if  placed  in  a  desert  where  neither  me- 
ridian nor  latitude  is  yet  ascertained,  the  equatorial  enables  the 
observer  to  find  both  in  a  few  hours.  For  the  latitude,  adjust 
by  the  cross-levels  the  azimuth  plane  of  the  instrument  to  the 
horizon  of  the  place.  Bring  down  the  equatorial  plane  to  an  ex- 
act parallelism  with  it,  its  pole  then  becoming  vertical.  By  the 
nut  and  pinion  commanding  it,  and  by  that  of  the  semi-circle  of 
declination,  direct  the  telescope  to  the  sun.  Follow  its  path 
with  the  telescope  by  the  combined  use  of  these  two  pinions, 
and  when  it  has  attained  its  greatest  altitude,  calculate  the  lati- 
tude as  when  taken  by  a  sextant. 

For  finding  the  meridian,  set  the  azimuth  circle  to  the  hori- 
zon, elevate  the  equatorial  circle  to  the  complement  of  the  lati- 
tude, and  fix  it  by  the  clamp  and  tightening  screw  of  the  two 
brass  segments  of  arches  below.  By  the  declination  semicircle 
set  the  telescope  to  the  sun's  declination  of  the  moment.  Turn 
the  instrument  towards  the  meridian  by  guess,  and  by  the  com- 
bined movement  of  the  equatorial  and  azimuth  circles  direct  the 
telescope  to  the  sun,  then  by  the  pinion  of  the  equatorial  alone, 
follow  the  path  of  the  sun  with  the  telescope.  If  it  swerves  from 
that  path,  turn  the  azimuth  circle  until  it  shall  follow  the  sun  ac- 
curately. A  distant  stake  or  tree  should  mark  the  meridian,  to 
guard  against  its  loss  by  any  accidental  jostle  of  the  instrument. 
The  12  o'clock  line  will  then  be  in  the  true  meridian,  and  the 
axis  of  the  equatorial  circle  will  be  parallel  with  that  of  the  earth. 
The  instrument  is  then  in  its  true  position  for  the  observations 
of  the  night.  To  the  competence  and  the  advantages  of  this 
method,  I  will  only  add  that  these  instruments  are  high-priced. 
Mine  cost  thirty-five  guineas  in  Ramsden's  shop,  a  little  before 
the  Revolution.  I  will  lengthen  my  letter,  already  too  long,  only 
by  assurances  of  my  great  esteem  and  respect. 



JIdntioei.i.o,  Decemler  11,  1821 

Dear  Sir, — Your  letter  of  December  the  19th  places  me  un- 
der a  dilemma,  which  I  cannot  solve  but  by  an  exposition  of  the 
naked  truth.  I  would  have  wished  this  rather  to  have  remained 
as  hitherto,  w  jhout  inquiry ;  but  your  inquiries  have  a  right  to 
be  answered.  I  will  do  it  as  exactly  as  the  great  lapse  of  time 
and  a  waning  memory  will  enable  me.  I  may  misremember  in- 
different circumstances,  but  can  be  right  in  substance. 

At  the  time  when  the  republicans  of  our  country  were  so  much 
alarmed  at  the  proceedings  of  the  federal  ascendency  in  Congress, 
in  the  executive  and  the  judiciary  departments,  it  became  a  mat- 
ter of  serious  consideration  how  head  could  be  made  against 
their  enterprises  on  the  constitution.  The  leading  republicans  in 
Congress  found  themselves  of  no  use  there,  brow-beaten,  as  they 
were,  by  a  bold  and  overwhelming  majority.  They  concluded 
to  retire  from  that  field,  take  a  stand  in  the  State  legislatures, 
and  endeavor  there  to  arrest  their  progress.  The  alien  and  sedi- 
tion laws  furnished  the  particular  occasion.  The  sympathy  be- 
tween Virginia  and  Kentucky  was  more  cordial,  and  more  inti- 
mately confidential,  than  between  any  other  two  States  of  repub- 
lican policy.  Mr.  Madison  came  into  the  Virginia  legislature.  I 
was  then  in  the  Vice-Presidency,  and  could  not  leave  my  station. 
But  your  father,  Colonel  W.  C.  Nicholas,  and  myself  happening 
to  be  together,  the  engaging  the  co-operation  of  Kentucky  in  an 
energetic  protestation  against  the  constitutionality  of  those  laws, 
became  a  subject  of  consultation.  Those  gentlemen  pressed  me 
strongly  to  sketch  resolutions  for  that  purpose,  your  father  under- 
taking to  introduce  them  to  that  legislature,  with  a  solemn  as- 
surance, which  I  strictly  required,  that  it  should  not  be  known 
from  what  quarter  they  came.  I  drew  and  delivered  them  to 
him,  and  in  keeping  their  origin  secret,  he  fulfilled  his  pledge  of 
honor.  Some  years  after  this,  Colonel  Nicholas  asked  me  if  1 
would  have  any  objection  to  its  being  known  that  I  had  drawn 
them.    I  pointedly  enjoined  that  it  should  not.    Whether  he  had 


uugua.'dedly  intimated  it  before  to  any  one,  I  know  not;  but  I 
afterwards  observed  in  the  papers  repeated  imputations  of  them 
to  me ;  on  which,  as  has  been  my  practice  on  all  occasions  of 
imputation,  I  have  observed  entire  silence.  The  question,  in- 
deed, has  never  before  been  put  to  me,  nor  should  I  answer  it  to 
any  other  than  yourself;  seeing  no  good  end  to  be  proposed  by 
it,  and  the  desire  of  tranquillity  inducing  with  me  a  wish  to  be 
■vithdrawn  from  public  notice.  Your  father's  zeal  and  talents 
were  too  well  known,  to  derive  any  additional  distinction  from 
the  penning  these  resolutions.  That  circumstance,  surely,  was 
of  far  less  merit  than  the  proposing  and  carrying  them  through 
the  legislature  of  his  State.  The  only  fact  in-  this  statement,  on 
which  my  memory  is  not  distinct,  is  the  time  and  occasion  of 
the  consultation  with  your  father  and  Colonel  Nicholas.  It  took 
place  here  I  know  ;  but  whether  any  other  person  was  present, 
or  communicated  with,  is  my  doubt.  I  think  Mr.  Madison  was 
either  with  us,  or  consulted,  but  my  memory  is  uncertain  as  to 
minute  details. 

I  fear,  dear  Sir,  we  are  now  in  such  another  crisis,  with  this 
difference  only,  that  the  judiciary  branch  is  alone  and  single 
handed  in  the  present  assaults  on  the  constitution.  But  its  as- 
saults are  more  sure  and  deadly,  as  from  an  agent  seemingly  pas- 
sive and  unassuming.  May  you  and  your  cotemporaries  meet 
them  with  the  same  determination  and  effect,  as  your  father  and 
his  did  the  alien  and  sedition  laws,  and  preserve  inviolate  a  con- 
stitution, which,  cherished  in  all  its  chastity  and  purity,  will  prove 
in  the  end  a  blessing  to  all  the  nations  of  the  earth.  With  these 
prayers,  accept  those  for  your  own  happiness  and  prosperity. 


MoN'nriii.i.u,  Febnmry  27,  1822. 

Gentlemen, — I  have  received  your  favor  of  the  18th,  and  am 
duly  sensible  of  the  honor  done  my  name  by  its  association  with 
the  institution  formed  in  yoLU  college  for  improvement  in  the  art 


of  speaking.  The  efforts  of  the  members  will,  I  trust,  give  a 
just  reputation  to  the  society  and  reflect  on  its  name  the  honoi 
which  it  cannot  derive  from  it.  In  a  country  and  government 
like  ours,  eloquence  is  a  powerful  instrument,  well  worthy  of  the. 
special  pursuit  of  our  youth.  Models,  indeed,  of  chaste  and  clas- 
sical oratory  are  truly  too  rare  with  us  ;  nor  do  I  recollect  any  re- 
markable in  England.  Among  the  ancients  the  most  perfect 
specimens  are  perhaps  to  be  found  in  Livy,  Sallust  and  Tacitus. 
Their  pith  and  brevity  constitute  perfection  itself  for  an  audience 
of  sages,  on  whom  froth  and  fancy  would  be  lost  in  air.  But  in 
ordinary  cases,  and  with  us  particularly,  more  development  is 
necessary.  For  senatorial  eloquence,  Demosthenes  is  the  finest 
model ;  for  the  bar,  Cicero.  The  former  had  more  logic,  the 
latter  more  imagination. 

Of  the  eloquence  of  the  pen  we  have  fine  samples  in  English. 
Robertson,  Sterne,  Addison,  are  of  the  first  merit  in  the  diflerenl 
characters  of  composition.  Hume,  in  the  circumstance  of  style 
is  equal  to  any ;  but  his  tory  principles  spread  a  cloud  over  his 
many  and  great  excellencies.  The  charms  of  his  style  and  mat- 
ter have  made  tories  of  all  England,  and  doubtful  republicans 

You  say  that  any  advice  which  I  could  give  you  would  be  ac- 
ceptable. But,  for  this,  you  cannot  be  in  better  hands  than  of 
the  worthy  professors  of  your  own  college.  Their  counsels 
would,  I  am  sure,  embrace  everything  I  could  ofler.  It  will  not, 
however,  be  a  work  of  mere  supereorgation  if  it  will  gratify  you, 
and  will  furnish  a  stronger  proof  of  my  desire  to  encourage  you 
in  your  laudable  dispositions.  Some  thirty-six  or  thirty-seven 
years  ago,  I  had  a  nephew,  the  late  Peter  Carr,  whose  education 
I  directed,  and  had  much  at  heart  his  future  fortunes.  Residing 
abroad  at  the  time  in  public  service,  my  counsels  to  him  were 
necessarily  communicated  by  letters.  Searching  among  my  papers 
I  find  a  letter  written  to  him,  and  conveying  such  advice  as  I 
thought  suitable  to  the  particular  period  of  his  age  and  educa- 
tion. He  was  then  about  fifteen,  and  had  made  some  progress 
in  classical  reading.    As  your  present  situation  may  be  somewhat 


similar,  you  may  find  in  that  letter  some  thnjgs  worth  remember- 
ing. I  enclose  you  a  copy  therefore.  It  was  written  in  haste,  un- 
der the  pressure  of  official  labors,  and  with  no  view  of  being 
ever  seen  but  by  himself.  It  might  otherwise  have  been  made 
more  correct  in  style  and  matter.  But  such  as  it  is,  I  place  it  at 
your  service,  and  pray  you  to  receive  it  merely  as  a  compliance 
with  your  own  request,  and  as  a  proof  of  my  good  will  and  of 
my  best  wishes  for  your  success  in  the  career  of  life  for  which 
you  are  so  worthily  and  laudably  preparing  yourselves. 


MoNTfCKLLO,  March  2,  1822. 

I  am  thankful  to  you.  Sir,  for  the  very  edifying  view  of  Eu- 
rope which  you  have  been  so  kind  as  to  send  me.  Tossed  at 
random  by  the  newspapers  on  an  ocean  of  uncertainties  and  false- 
hoods, it  is  joyful  at  times  to  catch  the  glimmering  of  a  beacon 
which  shows  us  truly  where  we  are.  De  Pradt's  Europe  had 
some  effect  in  this  way  ;  but  the  less  as  the  author  was  less  known 
in  character.  The  views  presented  by  your  brother  unite  our 
confidence  with  the  soundness  of  his  observation  and  informa- 
tion. I  have  read  the  work  with  great  avidity  and  profit,  and 
have  found  my  ideas  of  Europe  in  general,  rallied  by  it  to  points 
of  good  satisfaction.  In  the  single  chapter  on  England  only, 
where  his  theories  are  new,  if  we  cannot  suddenly  give  up  all 
our  old  notions,  he  furnishes  us  abundant  matter  for  reflection 
and  a  revisal  of  them.  I  have  long  considered  the  present  crisis 
of  England,  and  the  origin  of  the  evils  which  are  lowering  over 
her,  as  produced  by  enormous  excess  of  her  expenditures  beyond 
her  income.  To  pay  even  the  interest  of  the  debt  contracted, 
she  is  obliged  to  take  from  the  industrious  so  much  of  their  earn- 
mgs,  as  not  to  leave  enough  for  their  backs  and  bellies  They 
are  daily,  therefore,  passing  over  to  the  pauper-list,  to  subfist  on 
the  declining  means  of  those  still  holding  up,  and  when  these 
also  shall  be  exhausted,  what  next  ?    Reformation  cannot  remedy 


this.  It  could  only  prevent  its  recurrence  when  once  relieved 
from  the  debt.  To  effect  that  relief  I  see  but  one  possible  and 
just  course.  Considering  the  funded  and  real  property  as  equal, 
and  the  debt  as  much  of  the  one  as  the  other,  for  the  holder 
of  property  to  give  up  one-half  to  those  of  the  funds,  and  the 
latter  to  the  nation  the  whole  of  what  it  owes  them.  But  this 
the  nature  of  man  forbids  us  to  expect  without  blows,  and  blows 
will  decide  it  by  a  promiscuous  sacrifice  of  life  and  property. 
The  debt  thus,  or  otherwise,  extinguished,  a  rtal  representation 
introduced  into  the  government  of  either  property  or  people,  or 
of  both,  renouncing  eternal  war,  restraining  future  expenses  to 
future  income,  and  breaking  up  forever  the  consuming  circle  of 
extravagance,  debt,  insolvency,  and  revolution,  the  island  would 
then  again  be  in  the  degree  of  force  which  nature  has  measured 
out  to  it,  of  respectable  station  in  the  scale  of  nations,  but  not  at 
their  head.  I  sincerely  wish  she  could  peaceably  get  into  this 
state  of  being,  as  the  present  prospects  of  southern  Europe  seem 
to  need  the  acquisition  of  new  weights  in  their  balance,  rather 
than  the  loss  of  old  ones.  I  set  additional  value  on  this  volume, 
inasmuch  as  it  has  procured  me  the  occasion  of  expressing  to  you 
my  high  estimation  of  your  character,  the  interest  with  which  I 
look  to  it  as  an  American,  and  the  great  esteem  and  respect  with 
which  I  beg  leave  to  salute  you. 


MoxTiuKLLii,  M:irdi  6,  IS22. 

SiE, — I  have  duly  received  your  letter  of  February  the  16th, 
and  have  now  to  express  ^my  sense  of  the  honorable  station  pro- 
posed to  my  ex-brethren  and  myself,  in  the  constitution  of  the 
society  for  the  civilization  and  improvement  of  the  Indian  triljes. 
The  object  too  expressed,  as  that  of  the  association,  is  one  which 
I  have  ever  had  much  at  heart,  and  never  omitted  an  occasion 
of  promoting  while  I  have  been  in  situations  to  do  it  with  effect, 
and  nothing,  even  now,  in  the  calm  of  age  and  retirement,  would 


excite  in  me  a  more  lively  interest  than  an  approvable  plau  of 
raising  that  respectable  and  unfortunate  people  from  the  state  of 
physical  and  moral  abjection,  to  which  they  have  been  reduced 
by  circiunstances  foreign  to  them.  That  the  plan  now  proposed 
is  entitled  to  unmixed  approbation,  I  am  not  prepared  to  say,  after 
mature  consideration,  and  with  all  the  partialities  which  its  pro- 
fessed object  would  rightfully  claim  from  me. 

I  shall  not  undertake  to  draw  the  line  of  demarcation  be- 
tween private  associations  of  laudable  views  and  unimposing 
numbers,  and  those  whose  magnitude  may  rivalize  and  jeopard- 
ize the  march  of  regular  government.  Yet  such  a  line  does  exist. 
I,  have  seen  the  days,  they  were  those  which  preceded  the  revo- 
lution, when  even  this  last  and  perilous  .engine  became  neces- 
sary ;  bat  they  were  days  which  no  man  would  wish  to  see  a  sec^ 
ond  time.  That  was  the  case  where  the  regular  authorities  of 
the  government  had  combined  against  the  rights  of  the  people, 
and  no  means  of  correction  remained  to  them  but  to  organize  a 
collateral  power,  which,  with  their  support,  might  rescue  and  se- 
cure their  violated  rights.  But  such  is  not  the  case  with  our 
government.  We  need  hazard  no  collateral  power,  which,  by  a 
change  of  its  original  views,  and  assumption  of  others  we  know 
not  how  virtuous  or  how  mischievous,  would  be  ready  organized 
and  in  force  sutRcient  to  shake  the  established  foundations  of  so- 
ciety, and  endanger  its  peace  and  the  principles  on  which  it  is 
based.  Is  not  the  machine  now  proposed  of  this  gigantic  stature  ? 
It  is  to  consist  of  the  ex-Presidents  of  the  United  States,  the  Vice 
President,  the  Heads  of  all  the  executive  departments,  the  mem- 
bers of  the  supreme  judiciary,  the  Governors  of  the  several  States 
and  territories,  all  the  members  of  both  Houses  of  Congress,  all 
the  general  officers  of  the  army,  the  commissioners  of  the  navy, 
all  Presidents  and  Professors  of  colleges  and  theological  semina- 
ries, all  the  clergy  of  the  United  States,  the  Presidents  and  Sec- 
retaries of  all  associations  having  relation  to  Indians,  all  com- 
manding officers  within  or  near  Indian  territories,  all  Indian  su- 
perintendents and  agents  ;  all  these  ex-  officio  ;  and  as  many  pri- 
vate individuals  as  will  pay  a  certain  price  for  membership.     Ob- 


serve,  too,  that  the  clergy  will  constitute*  nineteen  twentieths  of 
this  association,  and,  by  the  law  of  the  majority,  may  command 
the  twentieth  part,  which,  composed  of  all  the  high  authorities 
of  the  United  States,  civil  and  military,  may  be  outvoted  and 
wielded  by  the  nineteen  parts  with  uncontrollable  power,  both 
as  to  purpose  and  process.  Can  this  formidable  array  be  revie  wed 
without  dismay  ?  It  will  be  said,  that  in  this  association  will  be 
all  the  confidential  officers  of  the  government :  the  choice  of  the 
people  themselves.  No  man  on  earth  has  more  im])licit  confi- 
dence than  myself  in  the  integrity  and  discretion  of  this  chosen 
band  of  servants.  But  is  confidence  or  discretion,  or  is  strict 
limit,  the  principle  of  our  constitution  ?  It  will  comprehend,  in- 
deed, all  the  functionaries  of  the  government ;  but  seceded  from 
their  constitutional  stations  as  guardians  of  the  nation,  and  acting 
not  by  the  laws  of  their  station,  but  by  those  of  a  voluntary  so- 
ciety, having  no  limit  to  their  purposes  but  the  same  will  which 
constitutes  their  existence.  It  will  be  the  authorities  of  the  peo- 
ple and  all  infl.uential  characters  from  among  them,  arrayed  on 
one  side,  and  on  the  other,  the  people  themselves  deserted  by 
their  leaders.  It  is  a  fearful  array.  It  will  be  said  that  these  are 
imaginary  fears.  I  know  they  are  so  at  present.  I  know  it  is  as 
impossible  for  these  agents  of  our  choice  and  unbounded  confi- 
dence, to  harbor  machinations  against  the  adored  principles  of 
our  constitution,  as  for  gravity  to  change  its  direction,  and  gravid 
bodies  to  mount  upwards.  The  fears  are  indeed  imaginary,  but 
the  example  is  real.  Under  its  authority,  as  a  precedent,  future 
associations  will  arise  with  objects  at  which  we  should  shudder 
at  this  time.  The  society  of  Jacobins,  in  another  country,  was 
instituted  on  principles  and  views  as  virtuous  as  ever  kindled  the 
hearts  of  patriots.  It  was  the  pure  patriotism  of  their  purposes 
which  extended  their  association  to  the  limits  of  the  nation,  and 
rendered  their  power  within  it  boundless  ;  and  it  was  this  powei 
which  degenerated  their  principles  and  practices  to  such  enor- 

*  The  clergy  of  the  United  States  may  probably  be  estimated  at  eight  thou- 
sand. The  residue  of  this  society  at  four  hundred;  but  if  the  former  number 
be  halved,  the  reasoning  will  be  the  same. 


mities  as  never  before  could  have  been  imagined.  Yet  these 
were  men,  and  we  and  oin*  descendants  will  be  no  more.  The 
present  is  a  case  where,  if  ever,  we  are  to  guard  against  ourselves ; 
not  against  ourselves  as  we  are,  but  as  we  may  be  ;  for  who  can 
now  imagine  what  we  may  become  under  circumstances  not  now 
imaginable  ?  The  object  of  this  institution,  seems  to  require  so 
hazardous  an  example  as  little  as  any  which  could  be  proposed. 
The  government  is,  at  this  time,  going  on  with  the  process  of 
civilizing  the  Indians,  on  a  plan  probably  as  promising  as  any 
one  of  us  is  able  to  devise,  and  with  resources  more  competent 
than  we  could  expect  to  command  by  voluntary  taxation.  Is  it 
that  the  new  characters  called  into  association  with  those  of  the 
government,  are  wiser  than  these  ?  Is  it  that  a  plan  originated 
by  a  meeting  of  private  individuals  is  better  than  that  prepared  by 
the  concentrated  wisdom  of  the  nation,  of  men  not  self-chosen, 
but  clothed  with  the  full  confidence  of  the  people  ?  Is  it  that 
there  is  no  danger  that  a  new  authority,  marching,  independently, 
along  side  of  the  government,  in  the  same  line  and  to  the  same 
object,  may  not  produce  collision,  may  not  thwart  and  obstruct 
the  operations  of  the  government,  or  wrest  the  object  entirely 
from  their  hands  ?  Might  wc  not  as  well  appoint  a  committee 
for  each  department  of  the  government,  to  counsel  and  direct  its 
head  separately,  as  volunteer  ourselves  to  counsel  and  direct  the 
whole,  in  mass  ?  And  might  we  not  do  it  as  well  for  their  for- 
eign, their  fiscal,  and  their  military,  as  for  their  Indian  affairs  ? 
And  how  many  societies,  auxiliary  to  the  government,  may  we 
expect  to  see  spring  up,  in  imitation  of  this,  offering  to  associate 
themselves  in  this  and  that  of  its  functions  ?  In  a  word,  why 
not  take  the  government  out  of  its  constitutional  hands,  associate 
them  indeed  with  us,  to  preserve  a  semblance  that  the  acts  are 
theirs,  but  insuring  them  to  be  our  own  by  allowing  them  a 
minor  vote  only. 

These  considerations  have  impressed  my  mind  with  a  force  so 
irresistible,  that  (in  duty  bound  to  answer  your  polite  letter, 
without  which  I  should  not  have  obtruded  an  opinion)  I  have 
not  been  able  to  withhold  the  expression  of  them.     Not  know- 


irig  the  individuals  who  have  proposed  this  plan,  I  cannot  be  con- 
ceived as  entertaining  personal  disrespect  for  them.  On  the  con- 
trary, I  see  in  the  printed  list  persons  for  whom  [  cherish  senti- 
ments of  sincere  friendship,  and  others,  for  whose  opinions  and 
purity  of  purpose  I  have  the  highest  respect.  Yet  thinking  as  1 
do,  that  this  association  is  unnecessary  ;  that  the  government  is 
proceeding  to  the  same  object  under  control  of  the  law  ;  that 
they  are  competent  to  it  in  wisdom,  in  means,  and  inclinatioii ; 
that  this  association,  this  wheel  within  a  wheel,  is  more  likely  to 
produce  collision  than  aid  ;  and  that  it  is,  in  its  magnitude,  of 
dangerous  example  ;  I  am  bound  to  say,  that,  as  a  dutifid  citizen, 
I  cannot  in  conscience  become  a  member  of  this  society,  possess- 
ing as  it  does  my  entire  confidence  in  the  integrity  of  its  views. 
I  feel  with  awe  the  weight  of  opinion  to  which  I  may  be  op- 
posed, and  that,  for  myself,  I  have  need  to  ask  the  indulgence  of 
a  belief  that  the  opinion  I  have  given  is  the  best  result  I  can  de- 
duce from  my  own  reason  and  experience,  and  that  it  is  sincerely 
conscientious.  Repeating,  therefore,  my  just  acknowledgments 
for  the  honor  proposed  to  me,  I  beg  leave  to  add  the  assurances 
to  the  'society  and  yourself  of  my  highest  confi.dence  and  con- 


MoNTiCKLLo,  Api-il  9,  1S22. 

Dear  General, — Your  favor  of  March  28th  was  received  on 
the  7th  instant.  We  failed  in  having  a  quorum  on  the  1st.  Mr. 
Johnson  and  General  Taylor  were  laboring  for  Lithgow  in  Rich- 
mond, and  Mr.  Madison  was  unwell.  On  the  score  of  business 
it  was  immaterial,  as  there  was  not  a  single  measure  to  be  pro- 
posed. The  loss  was  of  the  gratification  of  meeting  in  society 
with  those  whom  we  esteem.  This  is  the  valuable  effect  of  our 
semi-annual  meetings,  jubilees,  in  fact,  for  feasting  the  mind  and 
fostering  the  best  affections  of  the  heart  towards  those  who  merit 

The  four  rows  of  buildings  of  accommodation  are  so  nearly 


completed^  that  they  are  certain  of  being  entirely  so  in  the  course 
of  the  summer ;  and  our  funds,  as  you  have  seen  stated  in  our 
last  Report,  are  sufficient  to  meet  the  expense,  except  that  the 
delays  in  collecting  the  arrears  of  subscriptions  oblige  us  to  bor- 
row temporarily  from  this  year's  annuity,  which,  according  to 
that  Report,  had  another  destination.  These  buildings  done, 
■we  are  to  rest  on  our  oars,  and  passively  await  the  will  of  the 
legislature.  Our  future  course  is  a  plain  one.  We  have  pro- 
ceeded from  the  beginning  on  the  sound  determination  to  finish 
the  buildings  before  opening  the  institution ;  because,  once 
opened,  all  its  funds  will  be  absorbed  by  professors'  salaries,  &c., 
and  nothing  remain  ever  to  finish  the  buildings.  And  we  have 
thought  it  better  to  begin  two  or  three  years  later,  in  the  full  ex- 
tent proposed,  than  to  open,  and  go  on  forever,  with  a  half-way 
establishment.  Of  the  wisdom  of  this  proceeding,  and  of  its  greater 
good  to  the  public  finally,  I  cannot  a  moment  doubt.  Our  part 
then  is  to  pursue  with  steadiness  what  is  right,  turning  neither 
to  right  nor  left  for  the  intrigues  or  popular  delusions  of  the  day, 
assured  that  the  public  approbation  will  in  the  end  be  with  us. 
The  councils  of  the  legislature,  at  their  late  session,  were  poisoned 
unfortunately  by  the  question  of  the  seat  of  government,  and  the 
consequent  jealousies  of  our  views  in  erecting  the  large  building 
still  wanting.  This  lost  us  some  friends  who  feel  a  sincere  in- 
terest in  favor  of  the  University,  but  a  stronger  one  in  the  ques- 
tion respecting  the  seat  of  government.  They  seem  not  to  have 
considered  that  the  seat  of  the  government,  and  that  of  the  Uni- 
versity, are  incompatible  with  one  another  ;  that  if  the  former 
were  to  come  here,  the  latter  must  be  removed.  Even  Oxford 
and  Cambridge  placed  in  the  middle  of  London,  they  would  be 
deserted  as  seats  of  learning,  and  as  proper  places  for  training 
youth.  These  groundless  jealousies,  it  is  to  be  hoped,  will  be 
dissipated  by  sober  reflection,  during  the  separation  of  the  mem- 
bers ;  and  they  will  perceive,  before  their  next  meeting,  that  the 
large  building,  without  which  the  institution  cannot  proceed, 
has  nothing  to  do  with  the  question  of  the  seat  of  government. 
If,  however,  the  ensuing  session  should  still  refuse  their  patron- 


age,  a  second  or  a  third  will  think  better,  and  result  fina_ly  in 
fulfilling  the  object  of  our  aim,  the  securing  to  our  country  a  full 
and  perpetual  institution  for  all  the  useful  sciences ;  one  which 
will  restore  us  to  our  former  station  in  the  confederacy.  It  may 
be  a  year  or  two  later  indeed ;  but  it  will  replace  us  in  full  grade, 
and  not  leave  us  among  the  mere  subalterns  of  the  league.  Pa- 
tience and  steady  perseverance  on  our  part  will  secure  the  blessed . 
end.  If  we  shrink,  it  is  gone  forever.  Our  autumnal  meeting 
will  be  interesting.  The  question  will  be  whether  we  shall  re- 
linquish the  scale  of  a  real  University,  the  rallying  centre  of  the 
South  and  the  West,  or  let  it  sink  to  that  of  a  common  academy. 
I  hope  you  will  be  with  us,  and  give  us  the  benefit  of  your  firm 
and  enlarged  views.  I  am  not  at  all  disheartened  with  what 
has  passed,  nor  disi^osed  to  give  up  the  ship.  We  have  only  to 
lie  still,  to  do  and  say  nothing,  and  firmly  avoid  opening.  The 
public  opinion  is  advancing.  It  is  coming  to  our  aid,  and 
will  force  the  institution  on  to  consummation.  The  numbers 
are  great,  and  many  from  great  distances,  who  visit  it  daily  as 
an  object  of  curiosity.  They  become  strengthened  if  friends, 
converted  if  enemies,  and  all  loud  and  zealous  advocates,  and 
will  shortly  give  full  tone  to  the  public  voice.  Our  motto  should 
be  "be  not  wearied  with  well-doing."  Accept  the  assurance 
of  my  affectionate  friendship  and  respect. 


MnvTicKiLO,  May  13,  1822. 

Messes.  Ritchie  and  Gooch, — I  am  thankful  to  you  for  the 
paper  you  have  been  so  kind  as  to  send  me,  containing  the  ar- 
raignment of  the  Presidents  of  the  United  States  generally,  as 
peculators  or  accessories  to  peculation,  by  an  informer  who 
masks  himself  under  the  signature  of  "  a  Native  Virginian." 
What  relates  to  myself  in  this  paper,  (being  his  No.  VI.,  and  the 
only  No.  I  have  seen)  I  had  before  read  in  the  "  Federal  Repub- 
lican" of  Baltimore,  of  August  28th,  which  was  sent  to  me  by  a 


friend,  with  the  real  name  of  the  author.  It  was  published  there 
during  the  ferment  of  a  warmly-contested  election.  I  considered 
it,  therefore,  as  an  electioneering  manosuvre  merely,  and  did  not 
even  think  it  required  the  trouble  of  recollecting,  after  a  lapse 
of  thirty-three  years,  the  circumstances  of  the  case  in  which  he 
charges  me  with  having  purloined  from  the  treasury  of  the  Uni- 
ted States  the  sum  of  $1,148.  But  as  he  has  thought  it  worth 
repeating  in  his  Roll  of  informations  against  your  Presidents 
nominally,  I  shall  give  the  truths  of  the  case,  which  he  has  omit- 
ted, perhaps  because  he  did  not  know  them,  and  ventured  toe 
inconsiderately  to  supply  them  from  his  own  conjectures. 

On  the  return  from  my  mission  to  France,  and  joining  the 
government  here,  in  the  spring  of  1790,  I  had  a  long  and  heavy 
account  to  settle  with  the  United  States,  of  the  administration  of 
their  pecuniary  affairs  in  Eurojie,  of  which  the  superintendence 
had  been  confided  to  me  while  there.  I  gave  in  my  accoiint 
early,  but  the  pressure  of  other  business  did  not  jDermit  the  ac- 
counting officers  to  attend  to  it  till  October  10th,  1792,  when  we 
settled,  and  a  balance  of  $888  67  appearing  to  be  due  from  me, 
(but  erroneously  as  will  be  shown,)  I  paid  the  money  the  same 
day,  delivered  up  my  vouchers,  and  received  a  certificate  of  it. 
But  still  the  articles  of  my  draughts  on  the  bankers  could  be 
only  provisionally  Tpast ;  until  their  accounts  also  should  be  re- 
ceived to  be  confronted  with  mine.  And  it  was  not  till  the  24th 
of  June,  1804,  that  I  received  a  letter  from  Mr.  Richard  Har- 
rison the  auditor,  informing  me  "  that  my  accounts,  as  Minister 
to  France,  had  been  adjusted  and  closed,"  adding,  "the  bill 
drawn  and  credited  by  you  under  date  of  the  21st  of  October, 
1789,  for  banco  florins  2,800,  having  never  yet  appeared  in  any 
account  of  the  Dutch  bankers,  stand  at  your  debit  only  as  a  pro- 
visional charge.  If  it  should  hereafter  turn  out,  as  I  incline  to 
think  it  will,  that  this  bill  has  never  been  negotiated  or  used  by 
Mr.  Grand,  you  will  have  a  just  claim  on  the  public  for  its 
value."  This  was  the  first  intimation  to  me  that  I  had  too 
hastily  charged  myself  with  that  draught.  I  determined,  how- 
ever, as  I  had  allowed  it  in  my  account,  and  paid  up  the  balance 


t  had  produced  against  me,  to  let  it  remain  awhile,  as  there 
Tfas  a  possibility  that  the  draught  might  still  he  presented  hy  the 
holder  to  the  bankers ;  and  so  it  remained  till  I  was  near  leaving 
Washington,  on  my  final  retirement  from  the  administration  in 
1809.  I  then  received  from  the  auditor,  Mr.  Harrison,  the  fol- 
lowing note  :  "  Mr.  Jefferson,  in  his  accounts  as  late  Minister  to 
France,  credited  among  other  sums,  a  bill  drawn  by  him  on  the 
21st  October,  1789,  to  the  order  of  Grand  &  Co.,  on  the  bankers 
of  the  United  States  at  Amsterdam,  f.  Banco  f.  2,800,  equal  with 
agio  to  current  florins  2,870,  and  which  was  charged  to  him  pro- 
visionally in  the  official  statement  made  at  the  Treasury,  in  the 
month  of  October,  1804.  But  as  this  bill  has  not  yet  been  no- 
ticed in  any  account  rendered  by  the  bankers,  the  presumption 
is  strong  that  it  was  never  negotiated  or  presented  for  payment, 
and  Mr.  Jefferson,  therefore,  appears  justly  entitled  to  receive  the 
value  of  it,  which,  at  forty  cents  the  gilder,  (the  rate  at  which  it 
was  estimated  in  the  above-mentioned  statement.)  amounts  to 
$1,148.    Auditor's  office,  January  24th,  1809." 

Desirous  of  leaving  nothing  unsettled  behind  me,  I  drew  the 
money  from  the  treasury,  but  without  any  interest,  although  I 
had  let  it  lie  there  twenty  years,  and  had  actually  on  that  error 
paid  $888  67,  an  apparent  balance  against  me,  when  the  true 
balance  was  in  my  favor  $259  33.  The  question  then  is,  how 
has  this  happened  ?  I  have  «xamined  minutely  and  can  state  it 

Turning  to  my  pocket  diary  I  find  that  on  the  21st  day  of 
October,  1789,  the  date  of  this  bill,  I  was  at  Cowes  in  England, 
on  my  return  to  the  United  States.  The  entry  in  my  diary  is  in 
these  words :  "  1789,  October  21st.  Sent  to  Grand  &  Co.,  letter 
of  credit  on  Willinks,  Yan  Staphorsts  and  Hubbard,  for  2,800 
florins  Banco."  And  I  immediately  credited  it  in  my  account 
with  the  United  States  in  the  following  words :  "  1789,  October 
21.  By  my  bill  on  Willinks,  Van  Staphorsts  and  Hubbard,  in 
favor  of  Grand  &  Co.,  for  2,800  florins,  equal  to  6,250  livres  IS 
sous."  My  account  having  been  kept  in  livres  and  sous  of  France, 
the  auditor  settled  this  sum  at  the  current  exchange,  making  it 

VOL.  vn.  16 


,^1,14S  This  bill,  drawn  at  Co-wes  in  England,  had  to  pass 
through  London  to  Paris  by  the  English  and  French  mails,  in 
which  passage  it  was  lost,  by  some  unknown  accident,  to  which 
it  was  the  more  exposed  in  the  French  mail,  by  the  confusion 
then  prevailing ;  for  it  was  exactly  at  the  time  that  martial  law 
was  proclaimed  at  Paris,  the  country  all  up  in  arms,  and  execu- 
tions by  the  mobs  were  daily  perpetrating  through  town  and 
country.  However  this  may  have  been,  the  bill  never  got  to  the 
hands  of  Grand  &  Co.,  was  never,  of  course,  forwarded  by  them 
to  the  bankers  of  Amsterdam,  nor  anything  more  ever  heard  of 
it.  The  auditor's  first  conjecture  then  was  the  true  one,  that  it 
never  was  negotiated,  nor  therefore  charged  to  the  United  States 
in  any  of  the  bankers'  accounts.  I  have  now  under  my  eye  a 
duplicate  furnished  me  by  Grand  of  his  account  of  that  date 
against  the  United  States,  and  his  private  account  against  my- 
self, and  I  affirm  that  he  has  not  noticed  this  bill  in  either  of 
these  accounts,  and  the  auditor  assures  us  the  Dutch  bankers  had 
never  charged  it.  The  sum  of  the  whole  then  is,  that  I  drew  a 
bill  on  the  United  States  bankers,  charged  myself  with  it  on  the 
presumption  it  would  be  paid,  that  it  never  was  paid  however, 
either  by  the  bankers  of  the  United  States,  or  anybody  else.  It 
was  surely  just  then  to  return  me  the  money  I  had  paid  for  it. 
Yet  "  the  Native  Virginian "  thinks  that  this  act  of  receiving 
back  the  money  I  had  thus  through  error  overpaid,  "ivas  a  pal- 
pable and  manifest  act  of  moral  turpitude,  about  which  no  two 
honest,  iinpartial  men  can  possibly  differ."  I  ascribe  these  hard 
expressions  to  the  ardor  of  his  zeal  for  the  public  good,  and  as 
they  contain  neither  argument  nor  proof,  I  pass  them  over  with- 
out observation.  Indeed,  I  have  not  been  in  the  habit  of  notic- 
ing these  morbid  ejections  of  spleen  either  with  or  without  the 
names  of  those  venting  them.  But  I  have  thought  it  a  duty  on 
the  present  occasion  to  relieve  my  fellow  citizens  and  my  coun- 
try from  the  degradation  in  the  eyes  of  the  world  to  which  this 
informer  is  endeavoring  to  reduce  it  by  representing  it  as  gov- 
erned hitherto  by  a  succession  of  swindlers  and  peculators.  Nor 
shall  I  notice  any  further  endeavors  to  prove  or  to  palliate  this 


palpable  misinformation.  I  am  too  old  and  inert  to  undertake 
minute  investigations  of  intricate  transactions  of  the  last  century ; 
■  and  I  am  not  afraid  to  trust  to  the  justice  and  good  sense  of  my 
fellow-citizens  on  future,  as  on  former  attempts  to  lessen  me  in 
their  esteem. 

I  ask  of  you,  gentlemen,  the  insertion  of  this  letter  in  your  pa- 
per ;  and  I  trust  that  the  printers  who  have  hazarded  the  publica- 
tion of  the  libel,  on  anonymous  authority,  will  think  that  of  the 
answer  a  moderate  retribution  of  the  wrong  to  which  they  have 
been  accessory. 


MoNTicELLO,  June  1,  1822. 

It  is  very  long,  my  dear  Sir,  since  I  have  written'to  you.  My 
dislocated  wrist  is  now  become  so  stiff  that  I  write  slow  and 
with  pain,  and  therefore  write  as  little  as  I  can.  Yet  it  is  due 
to  mutual  friendship  to  ask  once  in  awhile  how  we  do  ?  The 
papers  tell  us  that  General  Starke  is  oflf  at  the  age  of  93.  Charles 
Thomson  still  lives  at  about  the  same  age,  cheerful,  slender  as  a 
grasshopper,  and  so  much  without  memory  that  he  scarcely  rec- 
ognizes the  members  of  his  household.  An  intimate  friend  of 
his  called  on  him  not  long  since ;  it  was  difficult  to  make  him 
recollect  who  he  was,  and,  sitting  one  hour,  he  told  him  the 
same  story  four  times  over.     Is  this  life  ? 

"  With  lab'ring  step 
To  tread  our  former  footsteps  ?  pace  the  round 
Eternal  ? — to  beat  and  beat 
The  beaten  track  ?  to  see  what  we  have  seen, 
To  taste  the  tasted  ?  o'er  our  palates  to  decant 
Another  vintage  ?" 

It  is  at  most  but  the  life  of  a  cabbage ;  surely  not  worth  a  wish. 
When  all  our  faculties  have  left,  or  are  leaving  us,  one  by  one, 
sight,  hearing,  memory,  every  avenue  of  pleasing  sensation  is 
closed,  and  athumy,  debility  and  malaise  left  in  their  places,  when 


friends  of  our  youth  are  all  gone,  and  a  generation  is  risen  around 
us  whom  we  know  not,  is  death  an  evil  ? 

When  one  by  one  our  ties  are  torn, 

And  friend  from  friend  is  snatched  forlorn, 

When  man  is  left  alone  to  mourn, 

Oh !  then  hew  sweet  it  is  to  die  I 
When  trembling  limbs  refuse  their  weight, 
And  films  slow  gathering  dim  the  sight, 
When  clouds  obscure  the  mental  light 

'Tis  nature's    kindest  boon  to  die ! 

I  really  think  so.  I  have  ever  dreaded  a  doting  old  age ;  and 
my  health  has  been  generally  so  good,  and  is  now  so  good,  that 
I  dread  it  still.  The  rapid  decline  of  my  strength  during  the  last 
winter  has  made  me  hope  sometimes  that  I  see  laiid.  During 
summer  I  enjoy  its  temperature,  but  I  shudder  at  the  approach 
of  winter,  and  wish  I  could  sleep  through  it  with  the  Dormouse, 
and  only  wake  with  him  in  spring,  if  ever.  They  say  that 
Starke  could  walk  about  his  room.  I  am  told  you  walk  well 
and  firmly.  I  can  only  reach  my  garden,  and  that  with  sensible 
fatigue.  I  ride,  however,  daily.  But  reading  is  my  delight.  I 
should  wish  never  to  put  pen  to  paper ;  and  the  more  because  of 
the  treacherous  practice  some  people  have  of  publishing  one's  let- 
ters without  leave.  Lord  Mansfield  declared  it  a  breach  of  trust, 
and  punishable  at  law.  I  think  it  should  be  a  penitentiary  felo- 
ny ;  yet  you  will  have  seen  that  they  have  drawn  me  out  into  the 
arena  of  the  newspapers ;  although  I  know  it  is  too  late  for  me  to 
buckle  on  the  armor  of  youth,  yet  my  indignation  would  not  per- 
mit me  passively  to  receive  the  kick  of  an  ass. 

To  turn  to  the  news  of  the  day,  it  seems  that  the  Cannibals 
of  Europe  are  going  to  eating  one  another  again.  A  war  be- 
tween Russia  and  Turkey  is  like  the  battle  of  the  kite  and 
snake.  Whichever  destroys  the  other,  leaves  a  destroyer  the 
less  for  the  world.  This  pugnacious  humor  of  mankind  seems 
to  be  the  law  of  his  nature,  one  of  the  obstacles  to  too  great  mul- 
tiplication provided  in  the  mechanism  of  the  Universe.  The 
cocks  of  the  henyard  kill  one  another  up.    Bears,  bulls,  rams,  do 


the  same.  And  the  horse,  in  his  wild  state,  kills  all  the  young 
males,  until  worn  down  with  age  and  war,  some  vigorous  youth 
kills  him,  and  takes  to  himself  the  Harem  of  females.  I  hope 
we  shall  prove  how  much  happier  for  man  the  Q,uaker  policy  is, 
and  that  the  life  of  the  feeder,  is  better  than  that  of  the  fighter ; 
and  it  is  some  consolation  that  the  desolation  by  these  maniacs 
of  one  part  of  the  earth  is  the  means  of  improving  it  in  other 
parts.  Let  the  latter  be  our  office,  and  let  us  milk  the  cow, 
while  the  Russian  holds  her  by  the  horns,  and  the  Turk  by  the 
tail.  God  bless  you,  and  give  you  health,  strength,  and  good 
spirits,  and  as  much  of  life  as  you  think  worth  having. 


MoNTiCELio, -Tune  5,  1822. 

I  thank  you.  Sir,  for  the  pamphlets  you  have  been  so  kind  as 
to  send  me,  and  am  happy  to  learn  that  the  doctrine  of  Jesus 
that  there  is  but  one  God,  is  advancing  prosperously  among  our 
fellow  citizens.  Had  his  doctrines,  pure  as  they  came  from  him- 
self, been  never  sophisticated  for  unworthy  purposes,  the  whole 
civilized  world  would  at  this  day  have  formed  but  a  single  sect. 
You  ask  my  opinion  on  the  items  of  doctrine  in  your  catechism. 
I  have  never  permitted  myself  to  meditate  a  specified  creed. 
These  formulas  have  been  the  bane  and  ruin  of  the  Christian 
church,  its  own  fatal  invention,  which,  through  so  many  ages, 
made  of  Christendom  a  slaughter-house,  and  at  this  day  divides 
it  into  casts  of  inextinguishable  hatred  to  one  another.  Witness 
the  present  internecine  rage  of  all  other  sects  against  the  Unita- 
rian. The  religions  of  antiquity  had  no  particular  formulas  of 
creed.  Those  of  the  modern  world  none,  except  those  of  the  re- 
ligionists calling  themselves  Christians,  and  even  among  these 
the  Quakers  have  none.  And  hence,  alone,  the  harmony,  the 
quiet,  the  brotherly  aflfections,  the  exemplary  and  unschismatising 
society  of  the  Friends,  and  I  hope  the  Unitarians,  will  follow  their 
happy  example.     With   thtse  sentiments  of  the  mischiefs  of 


creeds  and  confessions  of  faith,  I  am  sure  you  will  excuse  mv 
not  giving  opinions  on  the  items  of  any  particular  one  ;  and  that 
you  will  accept,  at  the  same  time,  the  assurance  of  the  high  re- 
spect and  consideration  which  I  bear  to  its  author. 


MoNTicELLO,  June  10,  1822. 

Messrs.  Ritchie  and  Gooch, — In  my  letter  to  you  of  May 
13th,  in  answer  to  a  charge  by  a  person  signing  himself  "  A  Na- 
tive Virginian,"  that  on  a  bill  drawn  by  me  for  a  sum  equivalent 
to  $1,148,  the  treasury  of  the  United  States  had  made  double 
payment,  I  supposed  I  had  done  as  much  as  would  be  required 
when  I  showed  they  had  only  returned  to  me  money  which  I 
had  previously  paid  into  the  treasury  on  the  presumption  that 
such  a  bill  had  been  paid  for  me,  but  that  this  bill  being  lost  or 
destroyed  on  the  way,  had  never  been  presented,  consequently 
never  paid  by  the  United  States,  and  that  the  money  was  there- 
fore returned  to  me.  This  being  too  plain  for  controversy,  the 
pseudo  Native  of  Virginia,  in  his  reply.  No.  32,  in  the  Federal 
Republican  of  May  24th,  reduces  himself  ultimately  to  the  ground 
of  a  double  receipt  of  the  money  by  me,  first  on  sale  or  negotia- 
tion of  the  bill  in  Europe,  and  a  second  time  from  the  treasury. 
But  the  bill  was  never  sold  or  negotiated  anywhere.  It  was  not 
drawn  to  raise  money  in  the  market.  I  sold  it  to  nobody,  received 
no  money  on  it,  but  enclosed  it  to  Grand  &  Co.  for  some  pur- 
pose of  account,  for  what  particular  purpose  neither  my  memory, 
after  a  lapse  of  thirty-three  years,  nor  my  papers  enable  me  tc 
say.  Had  I  preserved  a  copy  of  my  letter  to  Grand  enclosing  the 
bill,  that  would  doubtless  have  explained  the  purpose.  But  it 
was  drawn  on.  the  eve  of  my  embarkation  with  my  family  from 
Cowes  for  America,  and  probably  the  hurry  of  preparation  for 
that  did  not  allow  me  time  to  take  a  copy.  I  presume  this  be- 
cause I  find  no  such  letter  among  my  papers.  Nor  does  any  sub- 
sequent correspondence  with  Grand  explain  it,  because  I  had  no 


private  account  with  him ;  my  account  as  minister  being  kept 
with  the  treasury  directly,  so  that  he,  receiving  no  intimation  of 
this  bill,  could  never  give  me  notice  of  its  miscarriage.  But, 
however  satisfactory  might  have  been  an  explanation  of  the  pur- 
pose of  the  bill,  it  is  unnecessary  at  least ;  the  material  fact  being 
established  that  it  never  got  to  hand,  nor  was  ever  paid  by  the 
United  States. 

And  how  does  the  Native  Virginian  maintain  hL'i  charge  that 
I  received  the  cash  when  I  drew  the  bilj.  ?  by  unceremoniously 
inserting  into  the  entry  of  that  article  in  my  account,  words  of 
his  own,  making  me  say  in  direct  terms  that  I  did  receive  the 
cash  for  the  bill.  In  my  account  rendered  to  the  treasury,  it  is 
entered  in  these  words  :  "  1789,  Oct.  1.  By  my  bill  on  Willincks, 
Van  Staphorsts  &  Hubbard  in  favor  of  Grand  &  Co.  for  2,800 
florins,  equal  to  6,230  livres  18  sous ;"  but  he  quotes  it  as  stated 
in  my  account  rendered  to  and  settled  at  the  treasury,  and  yet 
remaining,  as  it  is  to  be  presumed,  among  the  archives  of  that 
department,  "  By  cash  received  of  Grmid  for  bill  on  Willincks, 
&c."  Now  the  words  "  cash  received  of  Grand "  constitute 
"the  very  point,  the  pivot,  on  which  the  matter  turns,"  as  him- 
self says,  and  not  finding,  he  has  furnished  them.  Although  the 
interpolation  of  them  is  sufficiently  refuted  by  the  fact  that  Grand 
was,  at  the  time,  in  France,  and  myself  in  England,  yet  wishing 
that  conviction  of  the  interpolation  should  be  founded  on  official 
document,  I  wrote  to  the  auditor,  Mr.  Harrison,  requesting  an 
official  certificate  of  the  very  words  in  which  that  article  stood 
in  my  autograph  account  deposited  in  the  office.  I  received  yes- 
terday his  answer  of  the  3d,  in  which  he  says,  "  I  am  unable  to 
furnish  the  extract  you  require,  as  the  original  account  rendered 
by  you  of  your  pecuniary  transactions  of  a  public  nature  in  Eu- 
rope, together  with  the  vouchers  and  documents  connected  with 
it,  were  all  destroyed  in  the  Register's  office  in  the  memorable 
conflagration  of  1814.  With  respect,  therefore,  to  the  sum  of 
$1,148  in  question,  I  can  only  say  that,  after  full  and  repeated 
examinations,  I  considered  you  as  most  righteously  and  justly 
entitled  to  receive  it.     Otherwise,  it  will,  I  trust,  be  believed  that 


I  could  not  have  consented  to  the  re-payment."  Considering  the 
intimacy  which  the  Native  Virginian  shows  with  the  treasury 
affairs,  we  might  he  justified  in  suspecting  that  he  knew  this 
fact  of  the  destruction  of  the  original  by  fire  when  he  ventured 
to  misquote.  But  certainly  we  may  call  on  him  to  say,  and  to 
show,  from  what  original  he  copied  these  words :  "  cash  received 
from  Grand  "?  I  say,  most  assuredly,  from  none,  for  none  such 
ever  existed.  Although  the  original  be  lost,  which  would  have 
convicted  him  officially,  it  happens  that  when  I  made  from  my 
rough  draft  a  fair  copy  of  my  account  for  the  treasury,  I  took 
also,  with  a  copying-machine,  a  press-copy  of  every  page,  which 
I  kept  for  my  own  use.  It  is  known  that  copies  by  this  well- 
known  machine  are  taken  by  impression  on  damp  paper  laid  on 
the  face  of  the  written  page  while  fresh,  and  passed  between 
rollers  as  copper  plates  are.  They  must  therefore  be  true  fac 
similies.  This  press-copy  now  lies  before  me,  has  .been  shown 
to  several  persons,  and  will  be  shown  to  as  many  as  wish  or  are 
willing  to  examine  it ;  and  this  article  of  my  account  is  entered  in 
it  in  these  words :  "  1789,  Oct.  1.  By  my  bill  on  Willincks,  Van 
Staphorsts  &  Hubbard  for  2,800  florins,  equal  to  6,230  livres  18 
sous."  An  inspection  of  the  account,  too,  shows  that  whenever 
I  received  cash  for  a  bill,  it  is  uniformly  entered  "  by  cash  re- 
ceived of  such  an  one,  (fcc.  ;"  but  where  a  bill  was  drawn  to  con- 
stitute an  item  of  account  only,  the  entry  is  "  by  my  bill  on, 
&c."  Now  to  these  very  words  "  cash  received  of  Grand,"  not 
in  my  original  but  interpolated  by  himself,  he  constantly  appeals 
as  proofs  of  an  acknowledgment  under  my  own  hand  that  /  re- 
ceived the  cash.  In  proof  of  this,  I  must  request  patience  to  read 
the  following  quotations  from  his  denunciations  as  standing  in 
the  Federal  Republican  of  May  24  : 

Page  2,  column  2, 1.  48  to  29  from  the  bottom,  "  he  [Mr.  J.] 
admits  in  his  account  rendered  in  1790  and  settled  in  1792,  that 
he  had  received  the  '  cash,''  [placing  the  word  cash  between  in- 
verted commas  to  have  it  marked  particularly  as  a  quotation] 
that  he  had  received  the  '  casK  for  the  bill  in  question,  and  he 
iocs  not  directly  deny  it  now.     Will  he,  can  he,  in  the  face  of 


his  own  declaration  in  writing  to  the  contrary,  publicly  say  that 
he  did  not  receive  the  money  for  this  bill  in  Europe  ?  This  is 
the  point  on  which  the  whole  matter  rests,  the  pivot  on  which 
the  arguments  turn.  If  he  did  receive  the  money  in  Europe, 
(no  matter  whether  at  Cowes  or  at  Paris,)  he  certainly  had  no 
right  to  receive  it  a  second  time  from  the  public  treasury  of  the 
United  States.  This  is  admitted  I  believe  on  all  sides.  Now, 
that  he  did  receive  the  money  in  Europe  on  this  bill,  is  proved 
by  the  acknowledgrhent  of  the  receiver  himself,  who  credits  the 
amount  in  his  account  as  settled  at  the  treasury  thus :  "  cash  re- 
ceived of  Grand  for  bill  on  Willincks,  Van  Staphorsts,  2,876 
gilders,  1,148  dollars. 

Col.  3,  1.  28  to  21  from  bottom.  There  is  a  plain  diiference 
in  the  phraseology  of  the  account,  from  which  an  extract  is 
given  by  Mr.  J.  as  above,  and  that  which  he  rendered  to  the  Trea- 
sury. In  the  former  he  gives  the  credit  thus,  "  Bjr  my  bills  on 
Willincks,"  &c.  In  the  latter  he  states,  "  By  cash  received  of 
Grand  for  bill  on  Willincks,  &c."  There  is  a  difference,  indeed, 
as  he  states  it,  but  it  is  made  solely  by  his  own  interpolation. 

Col.  3, 1.  8,  from  bottom.  "  That  Mr.  Jefferson  ^ould,  in  the 
very  teeth  of  the  facts  of  the  evidence  before  us,  and  in  his  own 
breast,  gravely  say  that  he  had  paid  the  money  for  this  bill,  and 
that  therefore  it  was  but  just  to  return  him  the  amount  of  it, 
when  he  had,  by  his  own  acknowledgm,ent,  sent  it  to  Grand  & 
Co.,  and  received  the  m,oney  for  it,  is,  I  confess,  not  only  matter 
of  utter  astonishment  but  regret."  I  spare  myself  the  qualifica- 
tions which  these  paragraphs  may  merit,  leaving  them  to  be  ap- 
plied by  every  reader  according  to  the  feelings  they  may  excite 
in  his  own  breast. 

He  proceeds :  "  And  now  to  place  this  case  beyond  the  reach 
of  cavil  or  doubt,  and  to  show  mA)st  conclusively  that  he  had 
negotiated  this  bill  in  Europe,  and  received  the  cash  for  it  there, 
and  that  such  was  the  understanding  of  the  matter  at  the  treasury 
in  1809,  when  he  received  the  money."  These  are  his  own  ■ 
words.  Col.  4,  he  brings  forward  the  overwhelming  fact  "  not 
hitherto  made  public  but  stated  from  the  most  creditable  and  au- 


thentic  source,  that  one  of  the  accounting  officers  of  the  treasury 
suggested  in  writing  the  propriety  of  taking  bond  and  security 
from  Mr.  J.,  for  indemnification  of  the  United  States  against  any 
future  claim  on  this  bill.  But  it  seems  the  bond  was  not  taken, 
and  the  government  is  now  liable  in  law,  and  in  good  faith  for 
the  payment  of  this  bill  to  the  rightful  owner."  How  this  sug- 
gestion of  taking  bond  at  the  treasury,  so  solemnly  paraded,  is 
more  conclusive  proof  than  his  own  interpolation,  that  the  cash 
was  received,  I  am  so  dull  as  not  to  perceive  ;  but  I  say,  that  had 
the  suggestion  been  made  to  me,  it  would  have  been  instantly 
complied  with.  But  I  deny  his  law.  Were  the  bill  now  to  be 
presented  to  the  treasmy,  the  answer  would  and  should  be  the 
same  as  a  merchant  would  give  :  "  You  have  held  up  this  bill 
three  and  thirty  years  without  notice  ;  we  have  settled  in  the 
meantime  with  the  drawer,  and  have  no  effects  of  his  left  in  our 
hands.  Apply  to  him  for  payment."  On  his  application  to  me, 
I  should  first  inquire  into  the  history  of  the  bill ;  where  it  had 
been  lurking  for  three  and  thirty  years  ?  how  came  he  by  it  ?  by 
interception  ?  by  trover  ?  by  assignment  from  Grand  ?  by  pur- 
chase ?  from  whom,  when  and  where  ?  And  according  to  his 
answers  I  should  either  institute  criminal  process  against  him,  or 
if  he  showed  that  all  was  fair  and  honest,  I  should  pay  him  the 
money,  and  look  for  reimbursement  to  the  quarter  appearing 
liable.  The  law  deems  seven  years'  absence  of  a  man,  without 
being  heard  of,  such  presumptive  evidence  of  his  death,  as  to 
distribute  his  estate,  and  to  allow  his  wife  to  marry  again.  The 
Auditor  thought  that  twenty  years  non-appearance  of  a  bill 
which  had  been  risked  through  the  post-offices  of  two  nations, 
was  sufficient  presumption  of  its  loss.  But  this  self-styled  native 
of  Virginia  thinks  that  the  thirty-three  years  now  elapsed  are 
not  sufficient.  Be  it  so.  If  the  accounting  officers  of  the  treas- 
ury have  any  uneasiness  on  that  subject,  I  am  ready  to  ^  give  a 
bond  of  indemnification  to  the  United  States  in  any  sum  the 
ofiicers  will  name,  and  with  the  security  which  themselves 
shall  approve.  Will  this  satisfy  the  native  Virginian  ?  or  will 
he  now  try  to  pick  some  other  hole  in  this  transaction,  to  shield 


nimself  from  a  candid  acknowledgment,  that  in  making  up  his 
case,  he  suppUed  hy  gratuitous  conjectures,  the  facts  which  were 
not  within  his  knowledge,  and  that  thus  he  has  sinned  against 
truth  in  his  declarations  before  the  public  ?  Be  this  as  it  may, 
I  have  so  much  confidence  in  the  discernment  and  candor  of  my 
fellow-citizens,  as  to  leave  to  their  judgment,  and  dismiss  from 
my  own  notice  any  future  torture  of  words  or  circumstances 
which  this  writer  may  devise  for  their  deception.  Indeed,  could 
such  a  denunciation,  and  on  such  proof,  bereave  me  of  that  con- 
fidence and  consolation,  I  should,  through  the  remainder  of  life, 
brood  over  the  afilicting  belief  that  I  had  lived  and  labored  in 


MoNTicELLO,  June  13,  1822. 

Sir, — I  thank  you  for  the  volume  of  American  Jurisprudence, 
which  you  have  been  so  kind  as  to  send  me.  I  am  now  too  old 
to  read  books  solidly,  unless  they  promise  present  amusement  or 
future  benefit.  To  me  books  of  law  offer  neither.  But  I  read 
your  6th  chapter  with  interest  and  satisfaction,  on  the  question 
whether  the  common  law  (of  England)  makes  a  part  of  the  laws 
of  our  general  government  ?  That  it  makes  more  or  less  a  part 
of  the  laws  of  the  States  is,  I  suppose,  an  unquestionable  fact. 
Not  by  birthright,  a  conceit  as  inexplicable  as  the  trinity,  but  by 
adoption.  But,  as  to  the  general  government,  the  Virginia  Re- 
port on  the  alien  and  sedition  laws,  has  so  completely  pulverized 
this  pretension  that  nothing  new  can  be  said  on  it.  Still,  seeing 
that  judges  of  the  Supreme  Court,  (I  recollect,  for  example.  Els- 
worth  and  Story)  had  been  found  capable  of  such  paralogism,  I 
was  glad  to  see  that  the  Supreme  Court  had  given  it  up.  In  the 
case  of  Libel  in  the  United  States  district  Court  of  Connecticut, 
the  rejection  of  it  was  certainly  sound ;  because  no  law  of  the 
general  government  had  made  it  an  offence.  But  such  a  case 
might,  I  suppose,  be  sustained  in  the  State  Courts  which  have 
state  laws  against  libels.     Because  as  to  the  portions  of  power 


within  each  State  assigned  to  the  general  government,  the  Presi- 
dent is  as  much  the  Executive  of  the  State,  as  their  particular 
governor  is  in  relation  to  State  powers.  These,  however,  are 
speculations  with  which  I  no  longer  trouble  myself ;  and  there- 
fore, to  my  thanks,  I  will  only  add  assurances  of  my  great  res- 


MoNTioELLO,  June  26,  1822 

Dear  Sir, — I  have  received  and  read  with  thankfulness  and 
pleasure  your  denunciation  of  the  abuses  of  tobacco  and  wine. 
Yet,  however  sound  in  its  principles,  I  expect  it  will  be  but  a 
sermon  to  the  wind.  You  will  find  it  is  as  difficult  to  inculcate 
these  sanative  precepts  on  the  sensualities  of  the  present  day,  as 
to  convince  an  Athanasian  that  there  is  but  one  God.  I  wish 
success  to  both  attempts,  and  am  happy  to  learn  from  you  tkat 
the  latter,  at  least,  is  making  progress,  and  the  more  rapidly  in 
proportion  as  our  Platonizing  Christians  make  more  stir  and  noise 
about  it.  The  doctrines  of  Jesus  are  simple,  and  tend  all  to  the 
happiness  of  man. 

1.  That  there  is  one  only  God,  and  he  all  perfect. 

2.  That  there  is  a  future  state  of  rewards  and  punishments. 

3.  That  to  love  God  with  all  thy  heart  and  thy  neighbor  as 
thyself,  is  the  sum  of  religion.  These  are  the  great  points  on 
which  he  endeavored  to  reform  the  religion  of  the  Jews.  But 
compare  with  these  the  demoralizing  dogmas  of  Calvin. 

1.  That  there  are  three  Gods. 

2.  That  good  works,  or  the  love  of  our  neighbour,  are  nothing. 

3.  That  faith  is  every  thing,  and  the  more  incomprehensible 
the  proposition,  the  more  merit  in  its  faith. 

4.  That  reason  in  religion  is  of  unlawful  use.  • 

5.  That  God,  from  the  beginning,  elected  certain  individuals 
to  be  saved,  and  certain  others  to  be  damned  ;  and  that  no  crimes 
of  the  former  can  damn  them  ;  no  virtues  of  the  latter  save. 

Now,  which  of  these  is  the  true  and  charitable  Christian  ?  He 


who  believes  and  acts  on  the  simple  doctrines  of  Jesus  ?  .  Or  the 
impious  dogmatists,  as  Athanasius  and  Calvin  ?  Verily  I  say 
these  are  the  false  shepherds  foretold  as  to  enter  not  by  the  door 
into  the  sheepfold,  but  to  climb  up  some  other  way.  They  are 
mere  usurpers  of  the  Christian  name,  teaching  a  counter-religion 
made  up  of  the  deliria  of  crazy  imaginations,  as  foreign  from 
Christianity  as  is  that  of  Mahomet.  Their  blasphemies  have 
driven  thinking  men  into  infidelity,  who  have  too  hastily  reject- 
ed the  supposed  author  himself,  with  the  horrors  so  falsely  im- 
puted to  him.  Had  the  doctrines  of  Jesus  been  preached  always 
as  pure  as  they  came  from  his  lips,  the  whole  civilized  world 
would  now  have  been  Christian.  I  rejoice  that  in  this  blessed 
country  of  free  inquiry  and  belief,  which  has  surrendered  its 
creed  and  conscience  to  neither  Kings  nor  priests,  the  genuine 
doctrine  of  one  only  God  is  reviving,  and  I  trust  that  there  is  not 
a  young  man  now  living  in  the  United  States  who  will  not  die 
an  Unitarian. 

But  much  I  fear,  that  when  this  great  truth  shall  be  re-estab- 
lished, its  votaries  will  fall  into  the  fatal  error  of  fabricating  for- 
mulas of  creed  and  confessions  of  faith,  the  engines  which  so 
soon  destroyed  the  religion  of  Jesus,  and  made  of  Christendom  a 
mere  Aceldama ;  that  they  will  give  up  morals  for  mysteries,  and 
Jssus  for  Plato.  How  much  wiser  are  the  Q,uakers,  who,  agree- 
ing in  the  fundamental  doctrines  of  the  gospel,  schismatize  about 
no  mysteries,  and,  keeping  within  the  pale  of  common  sense, 
suffer  no  speculative  differences  of  opinion,  any  more  than  of 
feature,  to  impair  the  love  of  their  brethren.  Be  this  the  wisdom 
of  Unitarians,  this  the  holy  mantle  which  shall  cover  within  its 
charitable  circumference  all  who  believe  in  one  God,  and  who 
love  their  neighbor !  I  conclude  my  sermon  with  sincere  assur- 
ances of  ray  friendly  esteem  and  respect. 



MoNTiCELLO,  June  2*7,  1822. 

Dear  Sik, — Your  kind  letter  of  the  11th  has  given  me  great 
satisfaction.  For  although  I  could  not  doubt  but  that  the  hand 
of  age  was  pressing  heavily  on  you,  as  on  myself,  yet  we  like  to 
know  the  particulars  and  the  degree  of  that  pressure.  Much  re- 
flectiin  too,  has  been  produced  by  your  suggestion  of  lending 
my  letter  of  the  1st,  to  a  printer.  I  have  generally  great  aver- 
sion to  the  insertion  of  my  letters  in  the  public  papers ;  because 
of  my  passion  for  quiet  retirement,  and  never  to  be  exhibited  in 
scenes  on  the  public  stage.  Nor  am  I  unmindful  of  the  pre- 
cept of  Horace,  ''  solvere  senescentem,  mature  sanus  equum,  ne 
peccet  ad  extremum  ridendus."  In  the  present  case,  however,  I 
see  a  possibility  that  this  might  aid  in  producing  the  very  quiet 
after  which  I  pant.  I  do  not  know  how  far  you  may  suffer,  as 
I  do,  under  the  persecution  of  letters,  of  which  every  mail  brings 
a  fresh  load.  They  are  letters  of  inquiry,  for  the  most  part,  al- 
ways of  good  will,  sometimes  from  friends  whom  I  esteem,  but 
much  oftener  from  persons  whose  names  are  unknown  to  me, 
but  written  kindly  and  civilly,  and  to  which,  therefore,  civihty 
requires  answers.  Perhaps,  the  better  known  failure  of  your 
hand  in  its  function  of  writing,  may  shield  you  in  greater  degree 
from  this  distress,  and  so  far  qualify  the  misfortune  of  its  disabili- 
ty. I  happened  to  turn  to  my  letter-list  some  time  ago,  and  a 
curiosity  was  excited  to  count  those  received  in  a  single  year. 
It  was  the  year  before  the  last.  I  found  the  number  to  be  one 
thousand  two  hundred  and  sixty-seven,  many  of  them  requiring 
answers  of  elaborate  research,  and  all  to  be  answered  with  due 
attention  and  consideration.  Take  an  average  of  this  number 
for  a  week  or  a  day,  and  I  will  repeat  the  question  suggested  by 
other  considerations  in  mine  of  the  1st.  Is  this  life  ?  At  best  it 
is  but  the  life  of  a  mill-horse,  who  sees  no  end  to  his  circle  but 
in  death.  To  such  a  life,  that  of  a  cabbage  is  paradise.  It  oc- 
curs then,  that  my  condition  of  existence,  truly  stated  in  that 
letter,  if  better  known,  might  check  the  kind  indiscretions  which 


are  so  heavily  oppressing  the  departing  hours  of  life.  Such  a  re- 
lief would,  to  me,  be  an  ineffable  blessing.  But  yours  of  the 
11th,  equally  interesting  and  affecting,  should  accompany  that  to 
which  it  is  an  answer.  The  two,  taken  together,  would  excite 
a  joint  interest,  and  place  before  our  fellow-citizens  the  present 
condition  of  two  ancient  servants,  who  having  faithfully  per- 
formed their  forty  or  fifty  campaigns,  stipendiis  omnibus  expletis, 
have  a  reasonable  claim  to  repose  from  all  disturbance  in  the 
sanctuary  of  invalids  and  superannuates.  But  some  device  should 
be  thought  of  for  their  getting  before  the  public  otherwise  than 
by  our  own  publication.  Your  printer,  perhaps,  could  frame 
something  plausible.  ********'s  name  should  be  left  blank,  as 
his  picture,  should  it  meet  his  eye,  might  give  him  pain.  I  con- 
sign, however,  the  whole  subject  to  your  consideration,  to  do  in 
it  whatever  your  own  judgment  shall  approve,  and  repeat  always, 
with  truth,  the  assurance  of  my  constant  and  affectionate  friend- 
ship and  respect. 

TO    WILLIAM    T.    BAHRT. 

MoNTiCELLO,  July  2,  1822. 

SiE, — Your  favor  of  the  15th  of  June  is  received,  and  I  am 
very  thankful  for  the  kindness  of  its  expressions  respecting  my- 
self. But  it  ascribes  to  me  merits  which  I  do  not  claim.  I  was 
only  of  a  band  devoted  to  the  cause  of  independence,  all  of  whom 
exerted  equally  their  best  endeavors  for  its  success,  and  have  a 
common  right  to  the  merits  of  its  acquisition.  So  also  is  the 
civil  revolution  of  1801.  Yery  many  and  very  meritorious  were 
the  worthy  patriots  who  assisted  in  bringing  back  our  govern- 
ment to  its  republican  tack.  To  preserve  it  in  that,  will  require 
unremitting  vigilance.  Whether  the  sun-ender  of  our  opponents, 
their  reception  into  our  camp,  their  assumption  of  our  name,  and 
apparent  accession  to  our  objects,  may  strengthen  or  weaken  the 
genuine  principles  of  republicanism,  may  be  a  good  or  an  evil,  is 
yet  to  be  seen.     I  consider  the  party  division  of  whig  and  tory 


the  most  wholesome  which  can  exist  in  any  government,  and 
well  worthy  of  being  nourished,  to  keep  out  those  of  a  more  dan- 
gerous character.  We  already  see  the  power,  installed  for  life, 
responsible  to  no  authority,  (for  impeachment  is  not  even  a  scare- 
crow,) advancing  with  a  noiseless  and  steady  pace  to  the  great 
object  of  consolidation.  The  foundations  are  already  deeply  laid 
by  their  decisions,  for  the  annihilation  of  constitutional  State 
rights,  and  the  removal  of  every  check,  every  counterpoise  to  the 
ingulphing  power  of  which  themselves  are  to  make  a  sovereign 
part.  If  ever  this  vast  country  is  brought  under  a  single  govern- 
ment, it  will  be  one  of  the  most  extensive  corruption,  indifferent 
and  incapable  of  a  wholesome  care  over  so  wide  a  spread  of  sur- 
face. This  will  not  be  borne,  and  you  will  have  to  choose  be- 
tween reformation  and  revolution.  If  I  know  the  spirit  of  this 
country,  the  one  or  the  other  is  inevitable.  Before  the  canker  is 
become  inveterate,  before  its  venom  has  reached  so  much  of  the 
body  politic  as  to  get  beyond  control,  remedy  should  be  applied. 
Let  the  future  appointments  of  judges  be  for  four  or  six  years, 
and  renewable  by  the  President  and  Senate.  This  will  bring 
their  conduct,  at  regular  periods,  under  revision  and  probation, 
and  may  keep  them  in  equipoise  between  the  general  and  special 
governments.  We  have  erred  in  this  point,  by  copying  England, 
where  certainly  it  is  a  good  thing  to  have  the  judges  independent 
of  the  King.  But  we  have  omitted  to  copy  their  caution  also, 
which  makes  a  judge  removable  on  the  address  of  both  legislative 
Houses.  That  there  should  be  public  functionaries  independent 
of  the  nation,  whatever  may  be  their  demerit,  is  a  solecism  in  a. 
republic,  of  the  first  order  of  absurdity  and  inconsistency. 

To  the  printed  inquiries  respecting  our  schools,  it  is  not  in  my 
power  to  give  an  answer.  Age,  debility,  an  ancient  dislocated, 
and  now  stiffened  wrist,  render  writing  so  slow  and  painful,  that 
I  am  obliged  to  decline  everything  possible  requiring  writing. 
An  act  of  our  legislature  will  inform  you  of  our  plan  of  primary 
schools,  and  the  annual  reports  show  that  it  is  becoming  com- 
pletely abortive,  and  must  be  abandoned  very  shortly,  after  cost- 
ing us  to  this  day  one  hundred  and  eighty  thousand  dollars,  and 


yet  to  cost  us  forty-five  thousand  dollars  a  year  more  until  it 
shall  be  discontinued  ;  and  if  a  single  boy  has  received  the  ele- 
ments of  common  education,  it  must  be  in  some  part  of  the  coun- 
try not  known  to  me.  Experience  has  but  too  fully  confirmed 
the  early  predictions  of  its  fate.  But  on  this  subject  I  must  re- 
fer you  to  others  more  able  than  I  am  to  go  into  the  necessary 
details ;  and  I  conclude  with  the  assurances  of  my  great  esteem 
and  respect. 


MfhVTiCEi.LO,  July  19,  1822. 

Deae  SiK, — An  anciently  dislocated,  and  now  stiffening  wrist, 
makes  writing  an  operation  so  slow  and  painful  to  me,  that  I 
should  not  so  soon  have  troubled  you  with  an  acknowledgment 
of  your  favor  of  the  8th,  but  for  the  request  it  contained  of  my 
consent  to  the  publication  of  my  letter  of  June  the  26th.  No, 
my  dear  Sir,  not  for  the  world.  Into  what  a  nest  of  hornets 
would  it  thrust  my  head  !  the  getiiis  irritable  vatum,  on  whom 
argument  is  lost,  and  reason  is,  by  themselves,  disclaimed  in 
matters  of  religion.  Don  Quixote  undertook  to  redress  the 
bodily  wrongs  of  the  world,  but  the  redressment  of  mental  va- 
garies would  be  an  enterprise  more  than  Quixotic.  J  should  as 
soon  undertake  to  bring  the  crazy  skulls  of  Bedlam  to  sound  un- 
derstanding, as  inculcate  reason  into  that  of  an  Athanasian.  I 
am  old,  and  tranquility  is  now  my  sunimum  bonum.  Keep  me, 
therefore,  from  the  fire  and  faggots  of  Calvin  and  his  victim  Ser- 
Vbtus.  Happy  in  the  prospect  of  a  restoration  of  primitive  Chris- 
tianity, I  must  leave  to  younger  athletes  to  encounter  and  lop 
off  the  false  branches  which  have  been  engrafted  into  it  by  the 
mythologists  of  the  middle  and  modern  ages.  I  am  not  aware 
of  the  peculiar  resistance  to  Unitarianism,  which  you  ascribe  to 
Pennsylvania.  When  I  lived  in  Philadelphia,  there  was  a  res- 
pectable congregation  of  that  sect,  with  a  meeting-house  and 
regular  service  which  I  attended,  and  in  which  Doctor  Priestley 

VOL.    Vll.  17 


officiated  to  numerous  audiences.  Baltimore  has  one  or  two 
churches,  and  their  pastor,  author  of  an  inestimable  book  on  this 
subject,  was  elected  chaplain  to  the  late  Congress.  That  doc- 
trine has  not  yet  been  preached  to  us :  but  the  breeze  begins  to 
be  felt  which  precedes  the  storm ;  and  fanaticism  is  all  in  a 
bustle,  shutting  its  doors  and  windows  to  keep  it  out.  But  it 
will  come,  and  drive  before  it  the  foggy  mists  of  Platonisni  which 
have  so  long  obscured  our  atmosphere.  I  am  in  hopes  that  some 
of  the  disciples  of  your  institution  will  become  missionaries  to  us, 
of  these  doctrines  truly  evangelical,  and  open  our  eyes  to  what 
has  been  so  I'^ng  hidden  from  them.  A  bold  and' eloquent 
preacher  would  be  nowhere  listened  to  with  more  freedom  than 
in  this  State,  nor  with  more  firmness  of  mind.  They  might  need 
a  preparatory  discourse  on  the  text  of  "  prove  all  things,  hold 
fast  that  which  is  good,"  in  order  to  unlearn  the  lesson  that  reason 
IS  an  unlawful  guide  in  religion.  They  might  startle  on  being 
first  awaked  from  the  dreams  of  the  night,  but  they  Avould  rub 
their  eyes  at  once,  and  look  the  spectres  boldly  in  the  face.  The 
preacher  might  be  excluded  by  our  hierophants  from  their  churches 
and  meeting-houses,  but  would  be  attended  in  the  fields  by  whole 
acres  of  hearers  and  thinkers.  Missionaries  from  Cambridge 
would  soon  be  greeted  with  more  welcome,  than  from  the  tritheis- 
tical  school  of  Andover.  Such  are  my  wishes,  such  would  be 
my  welcomes,  warm  and  cordial  as  the  assurances  of  my  esteem 
and  respect  for  you. 


.\l()NTK'n.M,o,  Ang-ii-^t  '29,  1822. 

You  must  be  so  good,  Sir,  as  to  excuse  me  from  entering  into 
the  optical  investigation  which  your  letter  of  the  18th  proposes- 
The  hand  of  age  presses  heavily  on  me.  I  have  long  withdrawn 
my  mind  from  speculations  of  that  kind  ;  my  memory  is  on  the 
wane.  I  am  averse  even  to  close  thinking,  and  writing  is  be- 
.;ome  slow,  laborious  and  painful.     I  will  make  then  but  a  single 


suggestion  on  the  subject  of  your  proposition,  to  show  my  respect 
o  your  request. 

To  distinct  vision  it  is  necessary  not  only  that  the  visual  angle 
should  be  sufficient  for  the  powers  of  the  human  eye,  but  that 
there  should  be  sufficient  light  also  on  the  object  of  observatior. 
In  microscopic  observations,  the  enlargement  of  the  angle  of 
vision  may  be  more  indulged,  because  auxiliary  light  may  be 
concentrated  on  the  object  by  concave  mirrors.  But  in  the  case 
of  the  heavenly  bodies,  we  can  have  no  such  aid.  The  moon, 
for  example,  receives  from  the  sun  but  a  fixed  quantity  of  light. 
In  proportion  as  you  magnify  her  surface,  you  spread  that  fixed 
quantity  over  a  greater  space,  dilute  it  more,  and  render  the  ob- 
ject more  dim.  If  you  increase  her  magnitude  infinitely,  you 
dim  her  face  infinitely  also,  and  she  becomes  invisible.  When 
under  total  eclipse,  all  the  direct  rays  of  the  sim  being  intercepted, 
she  is  seen  but  faintly,  and  would  not  be  seen  at  all  but  for  the 
refraction  of  the  solar  rays  in  their  passage  through  our  atmos- 
phere. In  a  night  of  extreme  darkness,  a  house  or  a  mountain 
is  not  seen,  as  not  having  light  enough  to  impress  the  limited 
sensibility  of  our  eye.  I  do  suppose  in  fact  that  Herschel  has 
availed  himself  of  the  properties  of  the  parabolic  mirror  to  the 
point  beyond  which  its  effect  would  be  countervailed  by  the 
diminution  of  light  on  the  object.  I  barely  suggest  this  element, 
not  presented  to  view  in  your  letter,  as  one  which  must  enter 
into  the  estimate  of  the  improved  telescope  you  propose.  You 
will  receive  from  the  professional  mathematicians  whom  you 
have  consulted,  remarks  more  elaborate  and  profound,  and  must 
be  so  good  as  to  accept  mine  merely  as  testimonies  of  my  respect. 

TO    MR.    GEORGE    F.    HOPKINS. 

MoN'TicKi.i.o,  Seplomber  5,  1S2?. 

Sir, — Your  letter  of  August  — ,  was  received  a  few  days  ago. 
Of  all  the  departments  of  science  no  one  seems  to  have  been  less 
advanced  for  the  last  hundred  years  than  that  of  meteorology. 


The  new  chemistry  indeed  has  given  us  a  new  principle  of  the 
generation  of  rain,  by  proving  water  to  be  a  composition  of  differ- 
ent gases,  and  has  aided  our  theory  of  meteoric  lights.  Elec- 
tricity stands  where  Dr.  Franklin's  early  discoveries .  placed  it, 
except  with  its  new  modification  of  galvanism.  Bat  the  phe- 
nomena of  snow,  hail,  halo,  aurora  borealis,  haze,  looming,  &c., 
are  as  yet  very  imperfectly  understood.  I  am  myself  an  empiric 
m  natural  philosophy,  suffering  my  faith  to  go  no  further  than 
my  facts.  I  am  pleased,  however,  to  see  the  efforts  of  hypothet- 
ical speculation,  because  by  the  collisions  of  different  hypothe- 
ses, truth  may  be  elicited  and  science  advanced  in  the  end. 
This  sceptical  disposition  does  not  permit  me  to  say  whether 
your  hypothesis  for  looming  and  the  floating  volumes  of  warm 
air  occasionally  perceived,  may  or  may  not  be  confirmed  by  fu- 
ture observations.  More  facts  are  yet  wanting  to  furnish  a  solu- 
tion on  which  we  may  rest  with  confidence.  I  even  doubt  as 
yet  whether  the  looming  at  sea  and  at  land  are  governed  by  the 
same  laws.  In  this  state  of  uncertainty,  I  cannot  presume  either 
to  advise  or  discourage  the  publication  of  your  essay.  This 
must  depend  on  circumstances  of  which  you  must  be  abler  to 
judge  yourself,  and  therefore  I  return  the  paper  as  requested, 
with  assurances  of  my  great  respect. 


MoN-noKLLo,  Septembei-  25,  1822. 

Sir, — I  received  on  the  20th,  your  letter  of  the  13th,  on  the 
question  what  is  an  east  and  west  line  ?  which,  you  say,  has 
been  a  subject  of  discussion  in  the  newspapers.  I  presume,  how- 
ever, it  must  have  been  a  mere  question  of  definition,  and  that 
the  parties  have  differed  only  in  applying  the  same  appellation  to 
different  things.  The  one  defines  an  east  and  west  line  to  be  on 
a  great  circle  of  the  earth,  passing  through  the  point  of  departure, 
its  nadir  point,  and  the  centre  of  the  earth,  its  plane  rectangular, 
to  that  of  the  meridian  of  departure.     The  other  considers  an 


east  and  "west  line  to  be  a  line  on  the  surface  of  the  earth,  bound- 
ing a  plane  at  right-angles  with  its  axis,  or  a  circle  of  latitude 
passing  through  the  point  of  departure,  or  in  other  words,  a  line 
which,  from  the  point  of  departure,  passes  every  meridian  at  a 
right-angle.  Each  party,  therefore,  defining  the  line  he  means, 
may  be  permitted  to  call  it  an  east  and  west  one,  or  at  least  it 
becomes  no  longer  a  mathematical  but  a  philological  question 
of  the  meaning  of  the  words  east  and  west.  The  last  is  what 
was  meant  probably  by  the  east  and  west  line  in  the  treaty  of 
Ghent.  The  same  has  been  the  understanding  in  running  the 
numerous  east  and  west  lines  which  divide  our  different  States. 
They  have  been  run  by  observations  of  latitude  at  very  short  in- 
tervals, uniting  the  points  of  observation  by  short  direct  lines,  and 
thus  constituting  in  fact  part  of  a  polygon  of  very  short  sides. 

But,  Sir,  I  do  not  pretend  to  be  an  arbiter  of  these  learned 
questions  ;  age  has  weaned  me  from  such  speculations,  and  ren- 
dered me  as  incompetent  as  unwilling  to  puzzle  myself  with 
them.  Your  claim  on  me  as  a  quondam  neighbor  has  induced 
me  to  hazard  thus  much',  not  indeed  for  the  newspapers,  a  vehicle 
to  which  I  am  never  willingly  committed,  but  to  prove  my  atten- 
tion to  your  wishes,  and  to  convey  to  you  the  assurances  of  my 


MoNTKziLui,  October  15,  1822. 

Dear  Sik, — I  have  long  entertained  scruples  about  writing  this 
letter,  upon  a  subject  of  some  delicacy.  But  old  age  has  over- 
come them  at  last. 

You  remember  the  four  ships  ordered  by  Congress  to  be  built, 
and  the  four  captains  appointed  by  Washington,  Talbot,  and 
Truxton,  and  Barry,  &c.,  to  carry  an  ambassador  to  Algiers,  and 
protect  our  commerce  in  the  Mediterranean.  I  have  always  im 
puted  this  measure  to  you,  for  several  reasons.  First,  because 
you  frequently  proposed  it  to  me  while  we  were  at  Paris,  nego- 
tiating together  for  peace  with  the  Barbary  powers.     Secondly, 


because  I  knew  that  Washington  and  Hamilton  were  not  only 
indifferent  about  a  navy,  but  averse  to  it.  There  was  no  Secre- 
tary of  the  Navy ;  only  four  Heads  of  department.  You  were 
Secretary  of  State  ;  Hamilton,  Secretary  of  the  Treasury  ;  Knox. 
Secretary  of  War ;  and  I  believe  Bradford  was  Attorney  Gen- 
eral. I  have  always  suspected  that  you  and  Knox  were  in  favor 
of  a  navy.  If  Bradford  was  so,  the  majority  was  clear.  But 
Washington,  I  am  confident,  was  against  it  in  his  judgment. 
But  his  attachment  to  Knox,  and  his  deference  to  yonr  opinion, 
for  I  know  he  had  a  great  regard  for  you,  might  induce  him  to 
decide  in  favor  of  you  and  Knox,  even  though  Bradford  united 
with  Hamilton  in  opposition  to  you.  That  Hamilton  was  averse 
'£)  the  measure,  I  have  personal  evidence  ;  for  while  it  was  pend- 
ing, he  came  in  a  hurry  and  a  fit  of  impatience,  to  make  a  visit 
to  me.  He  said  he  was  likely  to  be  called  upon  for  a  large  sum 
of  money  to  build  ships  of  war,  to  fight  the  Algerines,  and  he 
asked  my  opinion  of  the  measure.  I  answered  him  that  I  was 
clearly  in  favor  of  it.  For  I  had  always  been  of  opinion,  from 
the  commencement  of  the  revolution,  that  a  navy  was  the  most 
powerful,  the  safest  and  the  cheapest  national  defence  for  this 
country.  My  advice,  therefore,  was,  that  as  much  of  the  revenue 
as  could  possibly  be  spared,  should  be  applied  to  the  building  and 
equipping  of  ships.  The  conversation  was  of  some  length,  but  it 
was  manifest  in  his  looks  and  in  his  air,  that  he  was  disgusted 
at  the  measure,  as  well  as  at  the  opinion  that  I  had  expressed. 

Mrs.  Knox  not  long  since  wrote  a  letter  to  Doctor  Waterhouse, 
requesting  him  to  procure  a  commission  for  her  son,  in  the  navy ; 
that  navy,  says  her  ladyship,  of  which  his  father  was  the  parent. 
'■  For,"  says  she,  "  I  have  frequently  heard  General  Washington 
say  to  my  husband,  the  navy  was  your  child."  I  have  always 
believed  it  to  be  Jefferson's  child,  though  Knox  may  have  assist- 
ed in  ushering  it  into  the  world.  Hamilton's  hobby  was  the 
army.  That  Washington  was  averse  to  a  navy,  I  had  full  proof 
from  his  own  lips,  in  many  different  conversations,  some  of  them 
of  length,  in  which  he  always  insisted  that  it  was  only  building 


and  arming  ships  for  the  English.     "  Si  quid  novisti  rectiiis  istin 
candidus  imperii  ;  si  non,  his  utere  inecwm." 

If  I  am  in  error  in  any  particular,  pray  correct  your  humble 


MiiNTii  KLLii,  October  '21,  1322 

Sir, — I  return  thanks  for  the  pamphlet  you  have  been  so  kind 
as  to  send  me  on  the  subject  of  commonwealths.  Its  moral  prin- 
ciples merit  entire  approbation,  its  philanthropy  especially,  and 
its  views  of  the  equal  rights  of  man.  That,  on  the  principle  of  a 
communion  of  property,  small  societies  may  exist  in  habits  of 
virtue,  order,  industry,  and  peace,  and  consequently  in  a  state  of 
as  much  happiness  as  heaven  has  been  pleased  to  deal  out  to  im- 
perfect humanity,  I  can  readily  conceive,  and  indeed,  have  seen 
its  proofs  in  various  small  societies  which  have  been  constituted 
on  that  principle.  But  I  do  not  feel  authorized  to'  conclude  from 
these  that  an  extended  society,  like  that  of  the  United  States,  or 
of  an  individual  State,  could  be  governed  happily  on  the  same 
principle.  I  look  to  the  diffusion  of  light  and  education  as  the 
resource  most  to  be  relied  on  for  ameliorating  the  condition,  pro- 
moting the  virtue,  and  advancing  the  happiness  of  man.  That 
every  man  shall  be  made  virtuous,  by  any  process  whatever,  is, 
indeed,  no  more  to  be  expected,  than  that  every  tree  shall  be 
made  to  bear  fruit,  and  every  plant  nom-ishment.  The  brier  and 
bramble  can  never  become  the  vine  and  olive  ;  but  their  asperi- 
ties may  be  softened  by  culture,  and  their  properties  improved  to 
usefulness  in  the  order  and  economy  of  the  world.  And  I  do 
hope  that,  in  the  present  spirit  of  extending  to  the  great  mass  of 
mankind  the  blessings  of  instruction,  I  see  a  prospect  of  great 
advancement  in  the  happiness  of  the  human  race ;  and  that  this 
may  proceed  to  an  indefinite,  although  not  to  an  infinite  degree. 
Wishing  every  success  to  the  views  of  your  society  which  their 
hopes  can  promise,  and  thanking  you  most  particularly  for  tne 


kind  expressions  of  your  letter  towards  myself,  I  salute  you  •with 
assurances  of  great  esteem  and  respect. 


MoNTicELLO,  November  1,  1822. 

Dear  Sir, — I  have  racked  my  memory  and  ransacked  my  pa- 
pers, to  enable  myself  to  answer  the  inquiries  of  your  favor  of 
October  the  15th ;  but  to  little  purpose.  My  papers  furnish 
me  nothing,  my  memory,  generalities  only.  I  know  that  while 
I  was  in  Europe,  and  anxious  about  the  fate  of  our  seafaring 
men,  for  some  of  whom,  then  in  captivity  in  Algiers,  we  were 
treating,  and  all  were  in  like  danger,  I  formed,  undoubtingly,  the 
opinion  that  our  government,  as  soon  as  practicable,  should  pro- 
vide a  naval  force  sufficient  to  keep  the  Barbary  States  in  order; 
and  on  this  subject  we  communicated  together,  as  you  observe. 
When  I  returned  to  the  United  States  and  took  part  in  the  ad- 
ministration under  General  Washington,  I  constantly  maintained 
that  opinion  ;  and  in  December,  1790,  took  advantage  of  a  refer- 
ence to  me  from  the  first  Congress  which  met  after  I  was  in  of- 
fice, to  report  in  favor  of  a  force  sufficient  for  the  protection  of 
our  Mediterranean  commerce  ;  and  I  laid  before  them  an  accurate 
statement  of  the  whole  Barbary  force,  public  and  private.  I 
think  General  Washington  approved  of  building  vessels  of  war  to 
that  extent.  General  Knox,  I  know,  did.  But  what  was  Colo- 
nel Hamilton's  opinion,  I  do  not  in  the  least  remember.  Your 
recollections  on  that  subject  are  certainly  corroborated  by  his 
known  anxieties  for  a  close  connection  with  Great  Britain,  to 
which  he  might  apprehend  danger  from  collisions  between  their 
vessels  and  ours.  Randolph  was  then  Attorney  General ;  but  his 
opinion  on  the  question  I  also  entirely  forget.  Some  vessels  of 
war  were  accordingly  built  and  sent  into  the  Mediterranean. 
The  additions  to  these  in  your  time,  I  need  not  note  to  you,  who 
are  well  known  to  have  ever  been  an  advocate  for  the  vooden 
walls  of  ThemistO(,les.  Some  of  those  you  added,  were  sold  un- 
ler  an  act  of  Congress  passed  while  you  were  in  office.    I  thought, 


afterwards,  that  the  public  safety  might  require  some  additional 
vressels  of  strength,  to  be  prepared  and  in  readiness  for  the  first 
moment  of  a  war,  provided  they  could  be  preserved  against  the 
decay  which  is  unavoidable  if  kept  in  the  water,  and  clear  of  the 
expense  of  officers  and  men.  With  this  view  I  proposed  that 
they  should  be  built  in  dry  docks,  above  the  level  of  the  tide 
waters,  and  covered  with  roofs.  I  further  advised,  that  places 
for  these  docks  should  be  selected  where  there  was  a  command 
of  water  on  a  high  level,  as  that  of  the  Tyber  at  Washington,  by 
which  the  vessels  might  be  floated  out,  on  the  principle  of  a  lock. 
But  the  majority  of  the  legislature  was  against  any  addition  to 
the  navy,  and  the  minority,  although  for  it  in  judgment,  voted 
against  it  on  a  principle  of  opposition.  We  are  now,  I  under- 
stand, building  vessels  to  remain  on  the  stocks,  under  shelter, 
until  wanted,  when  they  will  be  laimched  and  finished.  On  my 
plan  they  could  be  in  service  at  an  hour's  notice.  On  this,  the 
finishing,  after  launching,  will  be  a  work  of  time. 

This  is  all  I  recollect  about  the  origin  and  progress  of  our 
navy.  That  of  the  late  war,  certainly  raised  our  rank  and  char- 
acter among  nations.  Yet  a  navy  is  a  very  expensive  engine. 
It  is  admitted,  that  in  ten  or  twelve  years  a  vessel  goes  to  entire 
decay;  or,  if  kept  in  repair,  costs  as  much  as  would  build  a  new 
one ;  and  that  a  nation  who  could  count  on  twelve  or  fifteen 
years  of  peace,  would  gain  by  burning  its  navy  and  building  a 
new  one  in  time.  Its  extent,  therefore,  must  be  governed  by  cir- 
cumstances. Since  my  proposition  for  a  force  adequate  to  the 
piracies  of  the  Mediterranean,  a  similar  necessity  has  arisen  in 
our  own  seas  for  considerable  addition  to  that  force.  Indeed,  I 
wish  we  could  have  a  convention  with  the  naval  powers  of  Eu- 
rope, for  them  to  keep  down  the  pirates  of  the  Mediterranean, 
and  the  slave  ships  on  the  coast  of  Africa,  and  for  us  to  perform 
the  same  duties  for  the  society  of  nations  in  our  seas.  In  this 
way,  those  collisions  would  be  avoided  between  the  vessels  of 
war  of  different  nations,  which  beget  wars  and  constitute  the 
weightiest  objection  to  navies.  I  salute  you  with  constant  af- 
fection and  respect. 



MoNTuiELLo,  November  2.  1822. 

Dear  Sir, — Your  favor  of  October  the  18th  came  to  hand 
yesterday.  The  atmosphere  of  our  country  is  unquestionably 
charged  with  a  threatening  cloud  of  fanaticism,  lighter  in  somb 
parts,  denser  in  others,  but  too  heavy  in  all.  I  had  no  idea,  how- 
ever, that  in  Pennsylvania,  the  cradle  of  toleration  and  freedom 
of  religion,  it  could  have  arisen  to  the  height  you  describe.  This 
must  be  owing  to  the  growth  of  Presbyterianism.  The  blasphe- 
my and  absurdity  of  the  five  points  of  Calvin,  and  the  impossi- 
bility of  defending  them,  render  their  advocates  impatient  of  rea- 
soning, irritable,  and  prone  to  denunciation.  In  Boston,  how- 
ever, and  its  neighborhood,  Unitarianism  has  advanced  to  so 
great  strength,  as  now  to  humble  this  haughtiest  of  all  religious 
sects ;  insomuch,  that  they  condescend  to  interchange  with  them 
and  the  other  sects,  the  civilities  of  preaching  freely  and  frequent- 
ly in-each  others'  meeting  houses.  In  Rhode  Island,  on  the  other 
hand,  no  sectarian  preacher  will  permit  an  Unitarian  to  pollute 
his  desk.  In  our  Richmond  there  is  much  fanaticism,  but  chief- 
ly among  the  women.  They  have  their  night  meetings  and 
praying  parties,  where,  attended  by  their  priests,  and  sometimes 
by  a  hen-pecked  husband,  they  pour  forth  the  effusions  of  their 
love  to  Jesus,  in  terms  as  amatory  and  carnal,  as  their  modesty 
would  permit  them  to  use  to  a  mere  earthly  lover.  In  our  village 
of  Charlottesville,  there  is  a  good  degree  of  religion,  with  a  small 
spice  only  of  fanaticism.  We  have  four  sects,  but  without  either 
church  or  meeting-house.  The  court-house  is  the  common  tem- 
ple, one  Sunday  in  the  month  to  each.  Here,  Episcopalian  and 
Presbyterian,  Methodist  and  Baptist,  meet  together,  join  in  hymn- 
ing their  Maker,  listen  with  attention  and  devotion  to  each  others' 
preachers,  and  all  mix  in  society  with  perfect  harmony.  It  is 
not  so  in  the  districts  where  Presbyterianism  prevails  undivided- 
ly.  Their  ambition  and  tyranny  would  tolerate  no  rival  if  they 
had  power.  Systematical  in  grasping  at  an  ascendency  over  all 
other  sects,  they  aim,  like  the  Jesuits,  at  engrossing  the  educa- 


tion  of  the  country,  are  hostile  to  every  institatioii  which  hey 
do  not  direct,  and  jealous  at  seeing  others  begin  to  attend  at  all 
to  that  object.  The  diffusion  of  instruction,  to  which  there  is 
now  so  growing  an  attention,  will  be  the  remote  remedy  to  this 
fever  of  fanaticism ;  while  the  more  proximate  one  will  be  the 
progress  of  Unitarianism.  That  this  will,  ere  long,  be  the  reli- 
gion of  the  majority  from  north  to  south,  I  have  no  doubt. 

In  our  university  you  know  there  is  no  Professorship  of  Divin- 
ity. A  handle  has  been  made  of  this,  to  disseminate  an  idea 
that  this  is  an  institution,  not  merely  of  no  religion,  but  against 
all  religion.  Occasion  was  taken  at  the  last  meeting  of  the  Vis- 
itors, to  bring  forward  an  idea  that  might  silence  this  calumny, 
which  weighed  on  the  minds  of  some  honest  friends  to  the  in- 
stitution. In  our  annual  report  to  the  legislature,  after  stating 
the  constitutional  reasons  against  a  public  establishment  of  any 
religious  instruction,  we  suggest  the  expediency  of  encouraging 
the  different  religious  sects  to  establish,  each  for  itself,  a  professor- 
ship of  their  own  tenets,  on  the  confines  of  the  university,  so  near 
as  that  their  students  may  attend  the  lectures  there,  and  have  the 
free  use  of  our  library,  and  every  other  accommodation  we  can 
give  them  ;  preserving,  however,  their  independence  of  us  and  of 
each  other.  This  fills  the  chasm  objected  to  ours,  as  a  defect  in 
an  institution  professing  to  give  instruction  in  all  useful  sciences. 
I  think  the  invitation  will  be  accepted,  by  some  sects  from  candid 
intentions,  and  by  others  from  jealousy  and  rivalship.  And  by 
bringing  the  sects  together,  and  mixing  them  with  the  mass  of 
other  students,  we  shall  soften  their  asperities,  liberalize  and  neu- 
tralize their  prejudices,  and  make  the  general  religion  a  religion 
of  peace,  reason,  and  morality. 

The  time  of  opening  our  university  is  still  as  uncertain  as 
ever.  All  the  pavilions,  boarding  houses,  and  dormitories  are 
done.  Nothing  is  now  wanting  but  the  central  building  for  a 
library  and  other  general  pm-poses.  For  this  we  have  no  funds, 
and  the  last  legislature  refused  all  aid.  We  have  better  hopes  of 
the  next.  But  all  is  uncertain.  I  have  heard  with  regret  of 
disturbances  on  the  part  of  the  students  in  your  seminary.     The 


article  of  discipline  is  the  most  diffioilt  in  American  education 
Premature  ideas  of  independence,  too  little  repressed  by  parents 
beget  a  spirit  of  insubordination,  which  is  the  great  obstacle  tc 
science  with  us,  and  a  principal  cause  of  its  decay  since  the  rev- 
olution. I  look  to  it  with  dismay  in  our  institution,  as  a  breaker 
ahead,  which  I  am  far  from  being  confident  we  shall  be  able  to 
weather.  The  advance  of  age,  and  tardy  pace  of  the  public  pa- 
tronage, may  probably  spare  me  the  pain  of  witnessing  conse- 

I  salute  you  with  constant  friendship  and  respect. 


MoNTioELLo,  Novembev  10,  1822. 

Sib, — I  have  to  acknowledge  your  favor  of  the  4th  instant, 
which  gives  me  the  first  information  I  had  ever  received  that  the 
laurels  which  Colonel  Campbell  so  honorably  won  in  the  battle 
of  King's  Mountain,  had  ever  been  brought  into  question  by  any 
one.  To  him  has  been  ever  ascribed  so  much  of  the  success  of 
that  brilliant  action  as  the  valor  and  conduct  of  an  able  com- 
mander might  justly  claim.  This  lessens  nothing  the  merits  of 
his  companions  in  arms,  ofl[icers  and  soldiers,  who,  all  and  every 
one,  acted  well  their  parts  in  their  respective  stations.  I  have  no 
papers  on  this  subject  in  my  possession,  all  such  received  at  that 
day  having  belonged  to  the  records  of  the  council,  but  I  remem- 
ber well  the  deep  and  grateful  impression  made  on  the  mind  of 
every  one  by  that  memorable  victory.  It  was  the  joyful  annun- 
ciation of  that  turn  of  the  tide  of  success  which  terminated  the 
revolutionary  war  with  the  seal  of  our  independence.  The 
slighting  expression  complained  of,  as  hazarded  by  the  venerable 
Shelby,  might  seem  inexcusable  in  a  younger  man,  but  he  was 
then  old,  and  I  can  assure  you,  dear  Sir,  from  mortifying  experi- 
ence, that  the  lapses  of  memory  of  an  old  man  are  innocent  sub- 
jects of  compassion  more  than  of  blame.  The  descendants  of 
Colonel  Campbell  may  rest  thek  heads  quietly  on  the  pillow  of 


his  reaown.  History  has  consecrated,  and  will  forever  preserve 
it  in  the  faithful  annals  of  a  grateful  country.  With  the  express- 
ions of  the  high  sense  I  entertain  of  his  character,  accept  the  as- 
surance to  youi'self  of  my  great  esteem  and  respect. 

P.  S.  I  received  at  the  same  time  with  your  letter,  one  from 
Mr.  William  C.  Preston,  on  the  same  subject.     Writing  is  so  slow 
and  painful  to  me,  that  I  must  pray  you  to  make  for  me  my  ac 
knowledgments  to  him,  and  my  request  that  he  will  consider  this 
as  an  answer  to  his  as  well  as  your  favor. 


N'oNTici-XLO.  December  8.  18'2'2. 

SiE, — I  have  to  thank  you  for  your  pamphlets  on  the  subject 
of  Unitarianism,  and  to  express  my  gratification  with  your  efforts 
for  the  revival  of  primitive  Christianity  in  your  quarter.  No  his- 
torical fact  is  better  established,  than  that  the  doctrine  of  one 
God,  pure  and  uncompounded,  was  that  of  the  early  ages  of 
Christianity  ;  and  was  among  the  efficacious  doctrines  which 
gave  it  triumph  over  the  polytheism  of  the  ancients,  sickened 
with  the  absurdities  of  their  own  theology.  Nor  was  the  unity 
of  the  Supreme  Being  ousted  from  the  Christian  creed  by  the 
force  of  reason,  but  by  the  sword  of  civil  government,  wielded 
at  the  will  of  the  fanatic  Athanasius.  The  hocus-pocus  phan- 
tasm of  a  God  like  another  Cerberus,  with  one  body  and  three 
heads,  had  its  birth  and  growth  in  the  blood  of  thousands  and 
thousands  of  martyrs.  And  a  strong  proof  of  the  solidity  of  the 
primitive  faith,  is  its  restoration,  as  soon  as  a  nation  arises  which 
vindicates  to  itself  the  freedom  of  religious  opinion,  and  its  ex- 
ternal divorce  from  the  civil  authority.  The  pure  and  simple 
unity  of  the  Creator  of  the  universe,  is  now  all  but  ascendant  in 
the  eastern  States  ;  it  is  dawning  in  the  west,  and  advancing  to- 
wards the  south  ;  and  I  confidently  expect  that  the  present  gen- 
eration will  see  Unitariaxiism  become  the  general  religion  of  the 


United  States.  The  eastern  presses  are  giving  us  many  excel- 
lent pieces  on  the  subject,  and  Priestley's  learned  -writings  on  it 
are,  or  should  be,  in  every  hand.  In  fact,  the  Athanasian  para- 
dox that  one  is  three,  and  three  but  one,  is  so  incomprehensible' 
to  the  human  mind,  that  no  candid  man  can  say  he  has  any  idea 
of  it,  and  how  can  he  believe  what  presents  no  idea  ?  He  who 
thinks  he  does,  only  deceives  himself.  He  proves,  also,  that 
man,  once  surrendering  his  reason,  has  no  remaining  guard  against 
absurdities  the  most  monstrous,  and  like  a  ship  without  rudder, 
is  the  sport  of  every  wind.  With  such  persons,  gullabihty, 
which  they  call  faith,  takes  the  helm  from  the  hand  of  reason, 
and  the  mind  becomes  a  wreck. 

I  write  with  freedom,  because,  while  I  claim  a  right  to  believe 
in  one  God,  if  so  my  reason  tells  me,  I  yield  as  freely  to  others 
that  of  believing  in  three.  Both  religions,  I  find,  make  honest 
men,  and  that  is  the  only  point  society  has  any  right  to  look  to. . 
Although  this  mutual  freedom  should  produce  mutual  indulgence, 
yet  I  wish  not  to  be  brought  in  question  before  the  public  on  this 
or  any  other  subject,  and  I  pray  you  to  consider  me  as  writing 
under  that  trust.  I  take  no  part  in  controversies,  religious  or  po- 
litical. At  the  age  of  eighty,  tranquillity  is  the  greatest  good  of 
life,  and  the  strongest  of  our  desires  that  of  dying  in  the  good 
will  of  all  mankind.  And  with  the  assurance  of  all  my  good 
will  to  Unitarian  and  Trinitarian,  to  Whig  and  Tory,  accept  for 
yourself  that  of  my  entire  respect. 


Mdntickt.i.o,  February  2'),  1823. 

Dear  Sib, — I  have  read  with  much  satisfaction  the  reply  of 
Mr.  Everett,  your  brother,  to  the  criticisms  on  his  work  on  the 
ftate  of  Europe,  and  concur  with  him  generally  in  the  doctrines 
of  the  reply.  Certainly  provisions  are  not  allowed,  by  the  con- 
sent of  nations,  to  be  contraband  but  where  everything  is  so,  as 
in  the  case  of  a  blockaded  town,  with  which  all  intercourse  is 


forbidden.  On  the  question  whether  the  principle  of  "free  bot- 
toms making  free  goods,  and  enemy  bottoms  enemy  goods,"  is 
now  to  be  considered  as  established  in  the  law  of  nations,  I  will 
state  to  you  a  fact  within  my  own  knowledge,  which  may  lessen 
the  weight  of  om*  authority  as  having  acted  in  the  war  of  Prance 
and  England  on  the  ancient  principle  "  that  the  goods  of  an 
enemy  in  the  bottom  of  a  friend  are  lawful  prize  ;  while  those 
of  a  friend  in  an  enemy  bottom  are  not  so."  England  became  a 
party  in  the  general  war  against  France  on  the  1st  of  February, 
1793.  We  took  immediately  the  stand  of  neutrality.  We  were 
aware  that  our  great  intercourse  with  these  two  maritime  nations 
would  subject  us  to  harassment  by  multiplied  questions  on  the 
duties  of  neutrality,  and  that  an  important  and  early  one  would 
be  which  of  the  two  principles  above  stated  should  be  the  law 
of  action  with  us  ?  We  wished  to  act  on  the  new  one  of  "  free 
bottoms  free  goods;"  and  we  had  established  it  in  our  treaties 
with  other  nations,  but  not  with  England.  We  determined 
therefore  to  avoid,  if  possible,  committing  ourselves  on  this  ques- 
tion until  we  could  negotiate  with  England  her  acquiescence  in 
the  new  principle.  Although  the  cases  occurring  were  mr- 
merous,  and  the  ministers,  Genet  and  Hammond,  eagerly  on  the 
watch,  we  were  able  to  avoid  any  declaration  until  the  massacre 
of  St.  Domingo.  The  whites,  on  that  occasion,  took  refuge  on 
board  our  ships,  then  in  their  harbor,  with  all  the  property  they 
could  find  room  for  ;  and  on  their  passage  to  the  United  States, 
many  of  them  were  taken  by  British  cruisers,  and  their  cargoes 
seized  as  lawful  prize.  The  inflammable  temper  of  Genet  kin- 
dled at  once,  and  he  wrote,  with  his  usual  passion,  a  letter  re- 
claiming an  observance  of  the  principle  of "  free  bottoms  free 
goods,"  as  if  already  an  acknowledged  law  of  neutrality.  I 
pressed  him  in  conversation  not  to  urge  this  point ;  that  although 
it  had  been  acted  on  by  convention,  by  the  armed  neutrahty, 
it  was  not  yet  become  a  principle  of  universal  admission  ;  that 
we  wished  indeed  to  strengthen  it  by  our  adoption,  and  were  ne- 
gotiating an  acquiescence  on  the  part  of  Great  Britain :  but  if 
forced  to  decide  prematurely,  we  must  justify  ourselves  by  a 


declaration  of  the  ancient  principle,  and  that  no  general  consenl 
of  nations  had  as  yet  changed  it.  He  was  immoveable,  and  on 
the  25th  of  July  wrote  a  letter,  so  insulting,  that  nothing  but  a 
determined  system  of  justice  and  moderation  would  have  pre- 
vented his  being  shipped  home  in  the  first  vessel.  I  had  the 
day  before  answered  his  of  the  9th,  in  which  I  had  been  obliged 
in  our  own  justification,  to  declare  that  the  ancient  was  the  es- 
tablished principle,  still  existing  and  authoritative.  Our  denial, 
therefore,  of  the  new  principle,  and  action  on  the  old  one,  wore 
forced  upon  us  by  the  precipitation  and  intemperance  of  Genet, 
against  our  wishes,  and  against  our  aim  ;  and  our  involuntary 
practice,  therefore,  is  of  less  authority  against  the  new  rule. 

I  owe  you  particular  thanks  for  the  copy  of  you;:  translation 
of  Buttman's  Greek  Grammar,  which  you  have  been  so  kind  as 
to  send  me.  A  cursory  view  of  it  promises  me  a  rich  mine  of 
valuable  criticism.  I  observe  he  goes  with  the  herd  of  gram- 
marians in  denying  an  Ablative  case  to  the  Greek  language.  I 
cannot  concur  with  him  in  that,  but  think  with  the  Messrs. 
of  Port  Royal  who  admit  an  Ablative.  And  why  exclude  it? 
Is  it  because  the  Dative  and  Ablative  in  Greek  are  always  of  the 
same  form  ?  Then  there  is  no  Ablative  to  the  Latin  plurals,  be- 
cause in  them  as  in  Greek,  these  case's  are  always  in  the  same 
form.  The  Greeks  recognized  the  Ablative  under  the  appellation 
of  the  niuKfu  ixpuioFfixi/,  which  I  have  met  with  and  noted  from 
some  of  the  scholiasts,  without  recollecting  where.  Stephens, 
Scapula,  Hederic  acknowledge  it  as  one  of  the  significations  of 
the  word  uif^uiut/ntuxo..  That  the  Greeks  used  it  cannot  be  denied, 
For  one  of  multiplied  examples  which  may  be  produced  take  the 
following  from  the  Hippolyttis  of  Euripides:  "  ^ul^  la  i^o/iu,  (}ixi;s 
E  ti, Kin  uvinr  on,; luo: ,"  "  dlc  quo  modo  justiticB  clava  percussit 
eum,"  "  quo  modo"  are  Ablatives,  then  why  not  tw  ijio ,«  ?  And 
translating  it  into  English,  should  we  use  the  *Dative  or  Ablative 
preposition  ?      It  is  not  perhaps  easy  to  define  very  critically 

*See  Buttman's  Datives,  p.  230,  every  one  of  which  I  sliould  consider  as  nnder 
-the  accident  or  relation  called  Ablative,  having  no  signification  of  approach  ac- 
cording to  his  definition  of  the  Dative. 


what  constitutes  a  case  in  the  declension  of  nonns.  All  agree 
IS  to  the  Nominative  that  it  is  simply  the  name  of  the  thing.  If 
we  admit  that  a  distinct  case  is  constituted  by  any  accident  or 
modification  which  changes  the  relation  which  that  bears  to  the 
actors  or  action  of  the  sentence,  we  must  agree  to  the  six  cases 
at  least ;  because,  for  example,  to  a  thing,  and  from  a  thing  are 
very  different  accidents  to  the  thing.  It  may  be  said  that  if 
every  distinct  accident  or  change  of  relation  constitutes  a  differ- 
ent case,  then  there  are  in  every  language  as  many  cases  as  there 
are  prepositions;  for  this  is  the  peculiar  office  of  the  preposition. 
But  because  we  do  not  designate  by  special  names  all  the  cases 
to  which  a  noun  is  liable,'  is  that  a  reason  why  we  should  throw 
away  half  of  those  we  have,  as  is  done  by  those  grammarians 
who  reject  all  cases,  but  the  Nominative,  Genitive,  and  Accu- 
sative, and  in  a  less  degree  by  those  also  who  reject  the  Ablative 
alone  ?  as  pushing  the  discrimination  of  all  the  possible  cases  te 
extremities  leads  us  to  nothing  useful  or  practicable,  I  am  con 
tented  with  the  old  six  cases,  familiar  to  every  cultivated  Ian 
guage,  ancient  and  modern,  and  well  understood  by  all.  I  ac- 
Knowledge  myself  at  the  same  time  not  an  adept  in  the  meta- 
physical speculations  of  Grammar.  By  analyzing  too  minutely 
we  often  reduce  our  subject  to  atoms,  of  which  the  mind  loses 
its  hold.  Nor  am  I  a  friend  to  a  scrupulous  purism  of  style.  I 
readily  sacrifice  the  niceties  of  syntax  to  euphony  and  strength. 
It  is  by  boldly  neglecting  the  rigorisms  of  grammar,  that  Tacitus 
has  made  himself  the  strongest  writer  in  the  world.  The  Hy- 
peresitics  call  him  barbarous  ;  but  I  should  be  sorry  to  exchange 
his  barbarisms  for  their  wise-drawn  purisms.  Some  of  his  sen- 
tences are  as  strong  as  language  can  make  them.  Had  he  scru- 
pulously filled  up  the  whole  of  their  syntax,  they  would  have 
been  merely  common.  To  explain  my  meaning  by  an  English 
example,  I  will  quote  the  motto  of  one,  I  believe,  of  the  regi- 
cides of  Charles  I.,  "  Rebellion  to  tyrants  is  obedience  t )  God." 
Oorrect  its  syntax,  "  Rebellion  against  tyrants  is  obedience  to 
God,"  it  has  lost  all  the  strength  and  beauty  of  the  antithesis. 
However,  dear  Sir,  I  profess  again  my  want  of  familiarity  with 



these  speculations  ;  I  hazard  them  without  confidence,  and  offe' 
them  submissively  to  your  consideration  and  more  practised 

Although  writing,  with  both  hands  crippled,  is  slow  and  pain- 
ful, and  therefore  nearly  laid  aside  from  necessity,  I  have  been 
decoyed  by  my  subjects  into  a  very  long  letter.  What  would 
therefore  have  been  a  good  excuse  fdr  ending  with  the  first  page 
cannot  be  a  bad  one  for  concluding  in  the  fourth,  with  the  as- 
surance of  my  great  esteem  and  respect. 


MoNTiOELLO,  Febviiary  25,  1823. 

Dear  Sir, — I  received,  in  due  time,  your  two  favors  of  De- 
cember the  2d  and  February  the  10th,  and  have  to  acknowledge 
for  the  ladies  of  my  native  State  their  obligations  to  you  for  the 
enconiums  which  you  are  so  kind  as  to  bestow  on  them.  They 
certainly  claim  no  advantages  over  those  of  their  sister  States, 
and  are  sensible  of  more  favorable  circumstances  existing  with 
many  of  them,  and  happily  availed,  which  our  situation  does  not 
offer.  But  the  paper  respecting  Monticello,  to  which  you  allude, 
was  not  written  by  a  Virginian,  but  a  visitant  from  another 
State  ;  and  written  by  memory  at  least  a  dozen  years  after  the 
visit.  This  has  occasioned  some  lapses  of  recollection,  and  a 
confusion  of  some  things  in  the  mind  of  our  friend,  and  particu- 
larly as  to  the  volume  of  slanders  supposed  to  have  been  cut  out 
of  newspapers  and  preserved.  It  would  not,  indeed,  have  been 
a  single  volume,  but  an  encyclopedia  in  bulk.  But  I  never  had 
such  a  volume  ;  indeed,  I  rarely  thought  those  libels  worth  read- 
ing, much  less  preserving  and  remembering.  At  the  end  of 
every  year,  I  generally  sorted  all  my  pamphlets,  and  had  them 
bound  according  to  their  subjects.  One  of  these  volumes  con- 
sisted of  personal  altercations  between  individuals,  and  calum- 
nies on  each  other.  This  was  lettered  on  the  back,  "  Personal- 
ities," and  is  now  in  the  library  of  Congress.     I  was  in  the  habit, 


also,  while  living  apart  from  my  family,  of  cutting  out  of  the 
newspapers  such  morsels  of  poetry,  or  tales,  as  I  thought  would 
^jlease,  and  of  sending  them  to  my  grandchildren,  who  pasted 
them  on  leaves  of  blank  paper  and  formed  them  into  a  book. 
These  two  volumes  have  been  confounded  into  one  in  the  recol- 
lection of  our  friend.  Her  poetical  imagination,  too,  has  height- 
ened the  scenes  she  visited,  as  well  as  the  merits  of  the  inhabit- 
ants, to  whom  her  society  was  a  delightful  gratification. 

I  have  just  finished  reading  O'Meara's  Bonaparte.  It  places 
him  in  a  higher  scale  of  understanding  than  I  had  allotted  him. 
I  had  thought  him  the  greatest  of  all  military  captains,  but  an 
indifferent  statesman,  and  misled  by  unworthy  passions.  The 
flashes,  however,  which  escaped  from  him  in  these  conversa- 
tions with  O'Meara,  prove  a  mind  of  great  expansion,  although 
not  of  distinct  development  and  reasoning.  He  seizes  results 
with  rapidity  and  penetration,  but  never  explains  logically  the 
process  of  reasoning  by  which  he  arrives  at  them.  This  book, 
too,  makes  us  forget  his  atrocities  for  a  moment,  in  commisera- 
tion of  his  sufferings.  I  will  not  say  that  the  authorities  of  the 
world,  charged  with  the  care  of  their  country  and  people,  had 
not  a  right  to  confine  him  for  life,  as  a  lion  or  tiger,  on  the  prin- 
ciple of  self-preservation.  There  was  no  safety  to  nations  while 
he  was  permitted  to  roam  at  large.  But  the  putting  him  to  death 
in  cold  blood,  by  lingering  tortures  of  mind,  by  vexations,  insults 
and  deprivations,  was  a  degree  of  inhumanity  to  which  the  pois- 
onings and  assassinations  of  the  school  of  Borgia  and  the  den  of 
Marat  never  attained.  The  book  proves,  also,  that  nature  had 
denied  him  the  moral  sense,  the  first  excellence  of  well-organized 
man.  If  he  could  seriously  and  repeatedly  affirm  that  he  had 
raised  himself  to  power  without  ever  having  committed  a  crime, 
it  proves  that  he  wanted  totally  the  sense  of  right  and  wrong. 
If  he  could  consider  the  millions  of  human  lives  which  he  had 
destroyed  or  caused  to  be  destroyed,  the  desolations  of  countries 
by  plunderings,  burnings,  and  famine,  the  destitutions  of  lawful 
rulers  of  the  world  without  the  consent  of  their  constituents,  to 
place  his  brothers  and  sisters  on  their  thrones,  the  cutting  up  of 


established  societies  of  men  and  jumbling  them  discordantly  to- 
gether again  at  his  caprice,  the  demolition  of  the  fairest  hopes  of 
mankind  for  the  recovery  of  their  rights  and  amelioration  of  their 
condition,  and  all  the  numberless  train  of  his  other  enormities ; 
the  man,  I  say,  who  could  consider  all  these  as  no  crimes,  must 
have  been  a  moral  monster,  against  whom  every  hand  should 
have  been  lifted  to  slay  him. 

You  are  so  kind  as  to  inquire  after  my  health.  The  bone  of 
my  arm  is  well  knitted,  but  my  hand  and  fingers  are  in  a  dis- 
couraging condition,  kept  entirely  useless  by  an  cedematous  swell- 
ing of  slow  amendment. 

God  bless  you  and  continue  your  good  health  of  body  and  mind 


MoNTicEi.Lo,  March  4,  1823. 

Deak  Sir, — I  delayed  some  time  the  acknowledgment  of  your 
welcome  letter  of  December  10th,  on  the  common  lazy  principle 
of  never  doing  to-day  what  we  can  put  oflf  to  to-morrow,  until 
it  became  doubtful  whether  a  letter  would  find  you  at  Charies- 
ton.  Learning  now  that  you  are  at  Washington,  I  will  reply  to 
some  particulars  which  seem  to  require  it. 

The  North  American  Review  is  a  work  1  do  not  take,  and 
which  is  little  known  in  this  State,  consequently  I  have  never 
seen  its  observations  on  your  inestimable  history,  but  a  reviewer 
can  never  let  a  work  pass  uncensured.  He  must  always  make 
himself  wiser  than  his  author.  He  would  otherwise  think  it  an 
abdication  of  his  office  of  censor.  On  this  occasion,  he  seems  to 
have  had  more  sensibility  for  Virginia  than  she  has  for  herself; 
for,  on  reading  the  work,  I  saw  nothing  to  touch  our  pride  or  jeal- 
ousy, but  every  expression  of  respect  and  good  will  which  truth 
could  justify.  The  family  of  enemies,  whose  buzz  you  appre- 
hend, are  now  nothing.  You  may  learn  this  at  Washington ; 
and  their  military  relation  has  long  ago  had  the  full-voiced  con- 
demnation of  his  own  State.     Do  not  fear,  therefore,  these  in- 


sects.  Wliat  you  write  will  be  far  above  their  grovelling  sphere. 
Let  me,  then,  implore  you,  dear  Sir,  to  finish  your  history  of  par- 
ties, leaving  the  time  of  publication  to  the  state  of  things  you 
may  deem  proper,  but  taking  especial  cure  that  we  do  not  lose  it 
altogether.  We  have  been  too  careless  of  our  future  reputation, 
while  our  tories  will  omit  nothing  to  place  us  in  the  wrong.  Be- 
sides the  five-volumed  libel  which  represents  us  as  struggling  for 
of&ce,  and  not  at  all  to  prevent  our  government  from  being  ad- 
ministered into  a  monarchy,  the  life  of  Hamilton  is  in  the  hands 
of  a  man  who,  to  the  bitterness  of  the  priest,  adds  the  rancor  of 
the  fiercest  federalism.  Mr.  Adams'  papers,  too,  and  his  biogra- 
phy, will  descend  of  course  to  his  son,  whose  pen,  you  know,  is 
pointed,  and  his  prejudices  not  in  our  favor.  And  doubtless  other 
things  are  in  preparation,  unknown  to  us.  On  our  part  we  are 
depending  on  truth  to  make  itself  known,  while  history  is  taking 
a  contrary  set  which  may  become  too  inveterate  for  correction. 
Mr.  Madison  will  probably  leave  something,  but  I  believe,  only 
particular  passages  of  our  history,  and  these  chiefly  confined  to 
the  period  between  the  dissolution  of  the  old  and  commencement 
of  the  new  government,  which  is  peculiarly  within  his  knowl- 
edge. After  he  joined  me  in  the  administration,  he  had  no  leis- 
ure to  write.  This,  too,  was  my  case.  But  although  I  had  not 
time  to  prepare  anything  express,  my  letters,  (all  preserved)  will 
furnish  the  daily  occurrences  and  views  from  my  return  from 
Europe  in  1790,  till  I  retired  finally  from  office.  These  will 
command  more  conviction  than  anything  I  could  have  written 
after  my  retirement ;  no  day  having  ever  passed  during  that  pe- 
riod without  a  letter  to  somebody,  written  too  in  the  moment, 
and  in  the  warmth  and  freshness  of  fact  and  feeling,  they  will 
carry  internal  evidence  that  what  they  breathe  is  genuine.  Se- 
lections from  these,  after  my  death,  may  come  out  successively 
as  the  maturity  of  circumstances  may  render  their  appearance 
seasonable.  But  multiplied  testimony,  multiplied  views  will  be 
necessary  to  give  solid  establishment  to  truth.  Much  is  known 
to  one  which  is  not  known  to  another,  and  no  one  knows  every- 
thing.    It  is  the  sum  of  individual  knowledge  which  is  to  make 


lip  the  whole  truth,  and  to  give  its  correct  current  through  future 
time.  Then  do  not,  dear  Sir,  withhold  your  stock  of  informa- 
tion ;  and  I  would  moreover  recommend  that  you  trust  it  not  to 
a  single  copy,  nor  to  a  single  depository.  Leave  it  not  in  the 
power  of  any  one  person,  under  the  distempered  view  of  an  un- 
lucky moment,  to  deprive  us  of  the  weight  of  your  testimony, 
and  to  purchase,  by  its  destruction,  the  favor  of  any  party  or  per- 
sorij  as  happened  with  a  paper  of  Dr.  Franklin's. 

I  cannot  lay  down  my  pen  without  recurring  to  one  of  the 
subjects  of  my  former  letter,  for  in  truth  there  is  no  danger  I  ap- 
prehend so  much  as  the  consolidation  of  our  government  by  the 
noiseless,  and  therefore  unalarming,  instrumentality  of  the  su- 
preme court.  This  is  the  form  in  which  federalism  now  arrays 
itself,  and  consolidation  is  the  present  principle  of  distinction 
between  republicans  and  the  pseudo-republicans  but  real  federal- 
ists. I  must  comfort  myself  with  the  hope  that  the  judges  will 
see  the  importance  and  the  duty  of  giving  their  country  the  only 
evidence  they  can  give  of  fidelity  to  its  constitution  and  integrity 
in  the  administration  of  its  laws ;  that  is  to  say,  by  every  one's 
giving  his  opinion  seriatim  and  publicly  on  the  cases  he  decides. 
Let  him  prove  by  his  reasoning  that  he  has  read  the  papers,  that 
he  has  considered  the  case,  that  in  the  application  of  the  law  to 
■  it,  he  uses  his  own  judgment  independently  and  unbiased  by 
party  views  and  personal  favor  or  disfavor.  Throw  himself  in 
every  case  on  God  and  his  country  ;  both  will  excuse  him  for 
error  and  value  him  for  his  honesty.  The  very  idea  of  cooking 
up  opinions  in  conclave,  begets  suspicions  that  something  passes 
which  fears  the  public  ear,  and  this,  spreading  by  degrees,  must 
produce  at  some  time  abridgment  of  tenure,  facility  of  removal, 
or  some  other  modification  which  may  promise  a  remedy.  For 
m  truth  there  is  at  this  time  more  hostility  to  the  federal  judi- 
ciary, than  to  any  other  organ  of  the  government. 

I  should  greatly  prefer,  as  you  do,  four  judges  to  any  greater 
number.  Great  lawyers  are  not  over  abundant,  and  the  multipli- 
cation of  judges  only  enable  the  weak  to  out-vote  the  wise,  and 


three  concurrent  opinions  out  of  four  gives  a  strong  presumption 
of  right. 

I  cannot  better  prove  my  entire  coniidence  in  your  candor, 
than  by  the  frankness  with  which  I  commit  myself  to  you,  and 
to  this  I  add  with  truth,  assurances  of  the  sincerity  of  my  great 
esteem  and  respect. 


QuiNcy,  March  10,  1823. 

Dear  Sir, — The  sight  of  your  well  known  hand  writing  in 
your  favor  of  25th  February  last,  gave  me  great  pleasure,  as  it 
proved  your  arm  to  be  restored,  and  your  pen  still  manageable. 
May  it  continue  till  you  shall  become  as  perfect  a  Galvinist  as  I 
am  in  one  particular.  Pqor  Calvin's  infirmities,  his  rheumatism, 
liis  gouts  and  sciatics,  made  him  frequently  cry  out,  Mon  dieu, 
jusqu'd  quand.  Lord,  how  long!  Prat,  once  chief  justice 
of  New  York,  always  tormented  with  infirmities,  dreamt  that  he 
was  situated  on  a  single  rock  in  the  midst  of  the  Atlantic  Ocean. 
He  heard  a  voice  : 

"Why  mourns  the  bard,  Apollo  bids  thee  rise, 
Renounce  the  dust,  and  claim  thy  native  skies.'' 

The  ladies'  visit  to  Monticello  has  put  my  readers  in  requisi- 
tion to  read  to  me  Simons'  travels  in  Switzerland.  I, thought  I 
had  some  knowledge  of  that  country  before,  but  I  find  I  had  no 
idea  of  it.  How  degenerated  are  the  Swiss.  They  might  de- 
fend their  country  against  France,  Austria,  and  Russia ;  neither 
of  whom  ought  to  be  sufiered  to  march  armies  over  their  moun- 
tains. Those  powers  have  practiced  as  much  tyranny,  and  im- 
morality, as  even  the  emperor  Napoleon  did  over  them,  or  over 
the  royalists  of  Germany  or  Italy. 

Neither  France,  Austria,  or  Spain,  ought  to  have  a  foot  of  land 
in  Italy.  All  conquerors  are  alike.  Every  one  of  them.  Jui-a 
negat  sihi  lati,  nihil  non  arrogat  armis.     We  have  nothing  but 


fables  concerning  Theseus,  Bacchus,  and  Hercules,  and  even 
Sesostris  ;  but  I  dare  say  that  every  one  of  them  was  as  tyranni- 
cal and  immoral  as  Napoleon.  Nebuchadnezzar  is  the  first  great 
conqueror  of  whom  we  have  anything  like  history,  and  he  was 
as  great  as  any  of  them.  Alexander  and  Ca3sar  were  more  im- 
moral than  Napoleon.  Zingis  Khan  was  as  great  a  conqueror  as 
any  of  them,  and  destroyed  as  many  millions  of  lives,  and  thought 
he  had  a  right  to  the  whole  globe,  if  he  could  subdue  it. 

What  are  we  to  think  of  the  crusades  in  which  three  millions 
of  lives  at  least  were  probably  sacrificed.  And  what  right  had 
St.  Louis  and  Richard  Cosur  de  Lion  to  Palestine  and  Syria 
more  than  Alexander  to  India,  or  Napoleon  to  Egypt  and  Italy  ? 
Right  and  justice  have  hard  fare  in  this  Avorld,  but  there  is  a 
power  above  who  is  capable  and  willing  to  put  all  things  right 
in  the  end  ;  et  pour  mettre  chacun  a  sa  place  dans  Vuniverse,  and 
I  doubt  not  he  will. 

Mr.  English,  a  Bostonian,  has  published  a  volume  of  his  expe- 
dition with  Ishmael  Pashaw,  up  the  river  Nile.  He  advanced 
above  the  third  cataract,  and  opens  a  prospect  of  a  resurrection 
from  the  dead  of  those  vast  and  ancient  countries  of  Abyssinia 
and  Ethiopia ;  a  free  communication  with  India,  and  the  river 
Niger,  and  the  city  of  Tombuctoo.  This,  however,  is  conjec- 
ture and  speculation  rather  than  certainty  ;  but  a  free  communica- 
tion by  land  between  Europe  and  India  will  ere  long  be  opened. 
A  few  American  steamboats,  and  our  Quincy  stone-cutters  would 
soon  make  the  Nile  as  navigable  as  our  Hudson,  Potomac,  or 
Mississippi.  You  see  as  my  reason  and  intellect  fails,  my  imag- 
ination grows  more  wild  and  ungovernable,  but  my  friendship 
remains  the  same.     Adieu. 


MoNTicuLLO,  April  U,  1823. 

De.\h  Silt, — The  wishes  expressed  in  your  last  favor,  that  I 
may  continue  in  life  and  health  until  I  become  a  Calvinist,  at 
least  in  his  exclamation  of,  •'  Mon  Dieu  !  jusqu'u  quand !"  would 


make  me  immortal.  I  can  never  join  Calvin  in  addressing  his 
God.  He  was  indeed  an  atheist,  which  I  can  never  be  ;  or  rather 
his  religion  was  daemonism.  If  ever  man  worshipped  a  false 
God,  he  did.  The  being  described  in  his  five  points,  is  not  the 
God  whom  you  and  I  acknowledge  and  adore,  the  creator  and 
benevolent  governor  of  the  world ;  but  a  dasmon  of  malignant 
spirit.  It  would  be  more  pardonable  to  believe  in  no  God  at  all, 
than  to  blaspheme  him  by  the  atrocious  attributes  of  Calvin.  In- 
deed, I  think  that  every  Christian  sect  gives  a  great  handle  to 
atheism  by  their  general  dogma,  that,  without  a  revelation,  there 
would  not  be  sufficient  proof  of  the  being  of  a  God.  Now  one- 
sixth  of  mankind  only  are  supposed  to  be  Christians ;  the  other 
five-sixths  then,  who  do  not  believe  in  the  Jewish  and  Christian 
revelation,  are  without  a  knowledge  of  the  existence  of  a  God ! 
This  gives  completely  a  gain  de  cause  to  the  disciples  of  Ocel- 
lus, Timseus,  Spinosa,  Diderot  and  D'Holbach.  The  argument 
which  they  rest  on  as  triumphant  and  unanswerable  is,  that  in 
every  hypothesis  of  cosmogony,  you  must  admit  an  eternal  pre- 
existence  of  something  ;  and  according  to  the  rule  of  sound  phil- 
osophy, you  are  never  to  employ  two  principles  to  solve  a  diffi- 
culty when  one  will  suffice.  They  say  then,  that  it  is  more 
simple  to  believe  at  once  in  the  eternal  pre-existence  of  the  world, 
as  it  is  now  going  on,  and  may  forever  go  on  by  the  principle  of 
reproduction  which  we  see  and  witness,  than  to  believe  in  the 
eternal  pre-existence  of  an  ulterior  cause,  or  creator  of  the  world, 
a  being  whom  we  see  not  and  know  not,  of  whose  form,  sub- 
stance and  mode,  or  place  of  existence,  or  of  action,  no  sense  in- 
forms us,  no  power  of  the  mind  enables  us  to  delineate  or  com- 
prehend. Oil  the  contrary,  I  hold,  (without  appeal  to  revelation) 
that  when  we  take  a  view  of  the  universe,  in  its  parts,  general  or 
particular,  it  is  impossible  for  the  human  mind  not  to  perceive 
and  feel  a  conviction  of  design,  consummate  skill,  and  indefinite 
power  in  every  atom  of  its  composition.  The  movements  of  the 
heavenly  bodies,  so  exactly  held  in  their  com'se  by  the  balance 
of  centrifugal  and  centripetal  forces ;  the  structure  of  our  earth  it- 
self, with  its  distribution  of  lands,  waters  and  atmosphere  ;  ani- 


inal  and  vegetable  bodies,  examined  in  ail  their  minutest  parti- 
cles ;  insects,  mere  atoms  of  life,  yet  as  perfectly  organized  aa 
man  or  mammoth  ;  the  mineral  substances,  their  generation  and 
uses ;  it  is  impossible,  I  say,  for  the  human  mind  not  to  believe, 
that  there  is  in  all  this,  design,  cause  and  effect,  up  to  an  ultimate 
cause,  a  fabricator  of  all  things  from  matter  and  motion,  their 
preserver  and  regulator  while  permitted  to  exist  in  their  presejit 
forms,  and  their  regeneratiou  into  new  and  other  forms.  We  see, 
too,  evident  proofs  of  the  necessity  of  a  superintending  power,  to 
main-tain  the  universe  in  its  course  and  order.  Stars,  well  known, 
have  disappeared,  new  ones  have  come  into  view ;  comets,  in 
their  incalculable  courses,  may  run  foul  of  suns  and  planets,  and 
require  renovation  under  other  laws  ;  certain  races  of  animals  are 
become  extinct ;  and  were  there  no  restoring  power,  all  existences 
might  extinguish  successively,  one  by  one,  until  all  should  be  re- 
duced to  a  shapeless  chaos.  So  irresistible  are  these  evidences 
of  an  intelligent  and  powerful  agent,  that,  of  the  infinite  numbers 
of  men  who  have  existed  through  all  time,  they  have  believed, 
in  the  proportion  of  a  million  at  least  to  unit,  in  the  hypothesis 
of  an  eternal  pre-existence  of  a  creator,  rather  than  in  that  of  a 
self-existent  universe.  Surely  this  unanimous  sentiment  renders 
this  more  probable,  than  that  of  the  few  in  the  other  hypothesis. 
Some  early  Christians,  indeed,  have  believed  in  the  co-eternal  pre- 
existence  of  both  the  creator  and  the  world,  without  changing 
their  relation  of  cause  and  effect.  That  this  was  the  opinion  of 
St.  Thomas,  we  are  informed  by  Cardinal  Toleta,  in  these  words. 
"  Deus  ah  cBterno  fuit  jaTn  omnipoteiis,  sicut  cum  prodiixit  mun- 
dum.  Ah  aterno  potuit  producere  mundwin.  Si  sol  ah  cBterno 
esset,  lumen  ah  aterno  essel ;  et  si  pes,  similiter  vesiigiuiii.  At 
lumen  et  vestigium  ejfectiis  sunt  efficientis  solis  et  pedis ;  potuit 
ergo  cuiiij  causa  ceterna  effectus  co-ceierna  esse.  Cujus  sefitentia 
est  S.  Thomas  theologorum,  priinus." — Cardinal  Toleta. 

Of  the  nature  of  this  being  we  know  nothing.  Jesus  tells  us, 
that  "  God  is  a  spirit."  4.  John  24.  But  without  defming  what 
a  spirit  is:  '  Jipt uftu 'o  ti toe."  Down  to  the  third  century,  we 
know  it  was  still  deemed  material ;  but  of  a  lighter,  subtler  mat- 


ter  than  our  gross  bodies.  So  says  Origeri,  "  Deus  igittir,  cui 
anima  similis  est,  juxta  originem,  reapte  corporaks  est;  sed 
graviorum  tantuin  ratione  corporum  incorporeus."  These  are 
the  words  of  Huet  in  his  commentary  on  Origen.  Origen  him- 
self says,  "  appellatio  u^uiumnu  apud  nostras  scriptores  est  inusl- 
tata  et  incognita."  So  also  TertuUian  ;  "  quis  autetn  negahit 
deum  esse  corpus  etsi  deus  spiritus  ?  Spiritus  etiam  corporis 
sui  generis,  in  sua  effigie." — Tertullian.  These  two  fathers  were 
of  the  third  century.  Calvin's  character  of  this  Supreme  Being 
seems  chiefly  copied  from  that  of  the  Jews.  But  the  reformation 
of  these  blasphemous  attributes,  and  substitution  of  those  more 
worthy,  pure,  and  sublime,  seems  to  have  been  the  chief  object 
of  Jesus  in  his  discourses  to  the  Jews ;  and  his  doctine  of  the  cos- 
mogony of  the  world  is  very  clearly  laid  down  in  the  three  first 
verses  of  the  first  chapter  of  John,  in  these  words  :  '■  'Ei-  uo/i;  tji'  i 

loyog,  Hul  u  )^6yoi  ^i'  TT^i)^  TOP  htiiv ,  uui  (:)toz^t  oXuvik,  Ovio^  ^r  it' ufj/rf  npog 
Till'  (-Jfni ,     Hum  i<  01  itvTin'  i-f  ii'  tTO-  xul  Xi-jolg  ut' (0  '  fv^c-  in  i)ui)e  5i',  v  vt'j  niei'.^^ 

Which  truly  translated  means,  "  In  the  beginning  God  existed,  and 
reason  [or  mind]  was  with  God,  and  that  mind  was  God.  This  was 
in  the  beginning  with  God.  All  things  were  created  by  it,  and 
without  it  was  made  not  one  thing  which  was  made."  Yet  this 
text,  so  plainly  declaring  the  doctrine  of  Jesus,  that  the  world 
was  created  by  the  supreme,  intelligent  being,  has  been  pervert- 
ed by  modern  Christians  to  build  up  a  second  person  of  their 
tritheism,  by  a  mistranslation  of  the  word  in;  r...  One  of  its  legit- 
imate meanings,  indeed,  is  "  a  word."  But  in  that  sense  it  makes 
an  unmeaning  jargon  ;  while  the  other  meaning,  "  reason,"  equal- 
ly legitimate,  explains  rationally  the  eternal  pre-existence  of  God, 
and  his  creation  of  the  world.  Knowing  how  incomprehensible 
it  was  that  "a  word,"  the  mere  action  or  articulation  of  the  or- 
gans of  speech  could  create  a  world,  th«y  undertook  to  make  of 
this  articulation  a  second  pre-existing  being,  and  ascribe  to  him, 
and  not  to  God,  the  creation  of  the  universe.  The  atheist  here 
plumes  himself  on  the  uselessness  of  such  a  God,  aqd  the  simpler 
hypothesis  of  a  self-existent  universe.  The  truth  is,  that  the 
greatest  enemies  to  the  doctrines  of  Jesus  are  those,  calling  them- 


selves  the  expositors  of  them,  who  have  perverted  them  for  the 
structure  of  a  system  of  fancy  absolutely  incomprehensible,  and 
without  any  foundation  in  his  genuine  words.  And  the  day  will 
come,  when  the  mystical  generation  of  Jesus,  by  the  Supreme 
Being  as  his  father,  in  the  womb  of  a  virgin,  will  be  classed  with 
the  fable  of  the  generation  of  Minerva  in  the  brain  of  Jupiter. 
But  we  may  hope  that  the  dawn  of  reason,  and  freedom  of 
thought  in  these  United  States,  will  do  away  all  this  artificial 
scaffolding,  and  restore  to  us  the  primitive  and  genuine  doctrines 
of  this  the  most  venerated  reformer  of  human  errors. 

So  much  for  your  quotation  of  Calvin's  "  mon  Dieu  !  jusqu'd, 
quand  !"  in  which,  when  addressed  to  the  God  of  Jesus,  and  our 
God,  I  join  you  cordially,  and  await  his  time  and  will  with  more 
readiness  than  reluctance.  May  we  meet  there  again,  in  Con- 
gress, with  our  ancient  colleagues,  and  receive  with  them  the 
seal  of  approbation,  "  well  done,  good  and  faithful  servants." 


MoNTiOELLo,  May  3,  1823. 

Dear  General, — I  duly  received  your  favor  of  the  24th  ult. 
But  I  am  rendered  a  slow  correspondent  by  the  loss  of  the  use, 
totally  of  the  one,  and  almost  totally  of  the  other  wrist,  which 
renders  writing  scarcely  and  painfully  practicable.  I  learn  with 
great  satisfaction  that  wholsome  economies  have  been  found, 
sufficient  to  relieve  us  from  the  ruinous  necessity  of  adding  an- 
nually to  our  debt  by  new  loans.  The  deviser  of  so  salutary  a 
relief  deserves  truly  well  of  his  country.  I  shall  be  glad,  too,  if 
an  additional  tax  of  one-fourth  of  a  dollar  a  gallon  on  whiskey 
shall  enable  us  to  meet  all  our  engagements  with  punctuality. 
Viewing  that  tax  as  an  article  in  a  system  of  excise,  I  was 
once  glad  to  see  it  fall  with  the  rest  of  the  system,  which  I  con- 
sidered as  prematurely  and  unnecessarily  introduced.  It  was  evi- 
dent that  our  existing  taxes  were  then  equal  to  our  existing  debts. 
It  was  clearly  foreseen  also  that  the  surplus  from  excise  would 


only  become  aliment  for  useless  offices,  and  would  be  swallowed 
in  idleness  by  those  whom  it  would  withdraw  from  useful  indus- 
try. Considering  it  only  as  a  fiscal  measare,  this  was  right.  But 
the  prostration  of  body  and  mind  which  the  cheapness  of  this 
liquor  is  spreading  through  the  mass  of  our  citizens,  now  calls 
the  attention  of  the  legislator  on  a  very  different  principle.  One 
of  his  important  duties  is  as  guardian  of  those  who  from  causes 
susceptible  of  precise  definition,  cannot  take  care  of  themselves. 
Such  are  infants,  maniacs,  gamblers,  drunkards.  The  last,  as 
much  as  the  maniac,  requires  restrictive  measures  to  save  him 
from  the  fatal  infatuation  under  which  he  is  destroying  his  health, 
his  morals,  his  family,  and  his  usefulness  to  society.  One  pow- 
erful obstacle  to  his  ruinous  self-indulgence  would  be  a  price  be- 
yond his  competence.  As  a  sanatory  measure,  therefore,  it  be- 
comes one  of  duty  in  the  public  guardians.  Yet  I  do  not  think 
it  follows  necessarily  that  imported  spirits  should  be  subjected  to 
similar  enhancement,  until  they  become  as  cheap  as  those  made 
at  home.  A  tax  on  whiskey  is  to  discourage  its  consumption  ;  a 
tax  on  foreign  spirits  encourages  whiskey  by  removing  its  rival 
from  competition.  The  price  and  present  duty  throw  foreign 
spirits  already  out  of  competition  with  whiskey,  and  accordingly 
they  are  used  but  tc  a  salutary  extent.  You  see  no  persons  be- 
sotting themselves  with  imported  spirits,  wines,  liquors,  cordials, 
&c.  Whiskey  claims  to  itself  alone  the  exclusive  office  of  sot- 
making.  Foreign  spirits,  wines,  teas,  coffee,  segars,  salt,  are  ar- 
ticles of  as  innocent  consumption  as  broadcloths  and  silks  and 
onght,  like  them,  to  pay  but  the  average  ad  valoi'em  duty  of 
other  imported  comforts.  All  of  them  are  ingredients  in  our  hap- 
piness, and  the  government  which  steps  out  of  the  ranks  of  the 
ordinary  articles  of  consumption  to  select  and  lay  under  dispro- 
portionate burthens  a  particular  one,  because  it  is  a  comfort, 
pleasing  to  the  taste,  or  necessary  to  health,  and  will  therefore 
be  bought,  is,  in  that  particular,  a  tyranny.  Taxes  on  consump- 
tion like  those  on  capital  or  income,  to  be  just,  must  be  uniform. 
I  do  not  mean  to  say  that  it  may  not  be  for  the  general  interest 
to  foster  for  awhile  certain  infant  manufactures,  untU  they  are 


strong  enough  to  stand  against  foreign  rivals ;  but  wlien  evident 
that  they  will  never  be  so,  it  is  against  right,  to  make  the  other 
branches  of  industry  support  them.  When  it  was  found  that 
France  could  not  make  sugar  under  6  h.  a  lb.,  was  it  not  tyran- 
ny to  restrain  her  citizens  from  importing  at  1  h.  ?  or  would  it 
not  have  been  so  to  have  laid  a  duty  of  5  h.  on  the  imported  ? 
The  permitting  an  exchange  of  industries  with  other  nations  is  a 
direct  encouragement  of  your  own,  which  without  that,  would 
bring  you  nothing  for  your  comfort,  and  would  of  course  cease 
to  be  produced. 

On  the  question  of  the  next  Presidential  election,  I  am  a  mere 
looker  on.  I  never  permit  myself  to  express  an  opinion,  or  to  feel 
a  wish  on  the  subject.  I  indulge  a  single  hope  only,  that  the 
choice  may  fall  on  one  who  will  be  a  friend  of  peace,  of  econo- 
my, of  the  republican  principles  of  our  constitution,  and  of  the 
salutary  distribution  of  powers  made  by  that  between  the  gener- 
al and  the  local  governments,  to  this,  I  ever  add  sincere  prayers 
for  your  happiness  and  prosperity. 

TO    MR.    MEGEAK. 

MoNTiCELi.n,  May  29.  1823. 

I  thank  you.  Sir,  for  the  copy  of  the  letters  of  Paul  and  Ami- 
cus, which  you  have  been  so  kind  as  to  send  me,  and  shall  learn 
from  them  with  satisfaction  the  peculiar  tenets  of  the  Friends, 
and  particularly  their  opinions  on  the  incomprehensibilities 
(otherwise  called  the  mysteries)  of  the  trinity.  I  think  with 
them  on  many  points,  and  especially  on  missionary  and  Bible 
societies.  While  we  have  so  many  around  us,  within  the  same 
social  pale,  who  need  instruction  and  assistance,  why  carry  to  a 
distance,  and  to  strangers  what  our  own  neighbors  need  ?  It  is 
a  duty  certainly  to  give  our  sparings  to  those  who  want ;  but  to 
see  also  that  they  are  faithfully  distributed,  and  duly  apportioned 
to  the  respective  wants  of  those  receivers.  And  why  give  through 
agents  whom  we  know  not,  to  persons  whom  we  know  not,  and 


in  countries  from  which  we  get  no  account,  when  we  can  do  it 
at  short  hand,  to  objects  under  our  eye,  through  agents  we  know, 
and  to  supply  wants  we  see  ?  I  do  not  know  that  it  is  a  duty 
to  disturb  by  missionaries  the  rehgion  and  peace  of  other  coun- 
tries, who  may  thinlc  themselves  bound  to  extinguish  by  fire 
and  fagot  the  heresies  to  which  we  give  the  name  of  conver- 
sions, and  quote  our  own  example  for  it.  Were  the  Pope,  or  hi? 
holy  allies,  to  send  in  mission  to  us  some  thousands  of  Jesuit 
priests  to  convert  us  to  their  orthodoxy,  I  suspect  that  we  should 
deem  and  treat  it  as  a  national  aggression  on  our  peace  and  faith. 
I  salute  you  in  the  spirit  of  peace  and  good  will. 


iroNTicKLi.o,  June  11,  1823 

Dear  Sir, — Considering  that  I  had  not  been  to  Bedford  for  a 
twelvemonth  before,  I  thought  myself  singularly  unfortunate  in 
so  timing  my  journey,  as  to  have  been  absent  exactly  at  the  mo- 
ment of  your  late  visit  to  our  neighborhood.  The  loss,  indeed, 
was  all  my  own  ;  for  in  these  short  interviews,  with  you,  I  gen- 
erally get  my  political  compass  rectified,  learn  from  you  where- 
abouts we  are,  and  correct  my  course  again.  In  exchaiige  for 
this,  I  can  give  you  but  newspaper  ideas,  and  little  indeed  of 
these,  for  I  read  but  a  single  paper,  and  that  hastily.  I  find 
Horace  and  Tacitus  so  much  better  writers  than  the  champions 
of  the  gazettes,  that  I  lay  those  down  to  take  up  these  with 
great  reluctance.  And  on  the  question  you  propose,  whether 
we  can,  in  any  form,  take  a  bolder  attitude  than  formerly  in 
favor  of  liberty,  I  can  give  you  but  commonplace  ideas.  They 
will  be  but  the  widow's  mite,  and  offered  only  because  requested. 
The  matter  which  now  embroils  Europe,  the  presumption  of 
dictating  to  an  independent  nation  the  form  of  its  government, 
is  so  arrogant,  so  atrocious,  that  indignation,  as  well  as  moral 
sentiment,  enlists  all  our  partialities  and  prayers  in  favor  of  one, 
and  our  equal   execrations  against   the   other.     1  do  not  know, 


indeed,  whether  all  nations  do  not  owe  to  one  another  a  bold 
and  open  declaration  of  their  sympathies  with  the  one  party, 
and  their  detestation  of  the  conduct  of  the  other.  But  farther 
than  this  we  are  not  bound  to  go  ;  and  indeed,  for  the  sake  of 
the  world,  we  ought  not  to  increase  the  jealousies,  or  draw  on 
ourselves  the  power  of  this  formidable  confederacy.  I  have 
ever  deemed  it  fundamental  for  the  United  States,  never  to  take 
active  part  in  the  quarrels  of  Europe.  Their  political  interests 
are  entirely  distinct  from  ours.  Their  mutual  jealousies,  their 
balance  of  power,  their  complicated  alliances,  their  forms  and 
principles  of  government,  are  all  foreign  to  us.  They  are  na- 
tions of  eternal  war.  All  their  energies  are  expended  in  the  de- 
struction of  the  labor,  property  and  lives  of  their  people.  On  our 
part,  never  had  a  people  so  favorable  a  chance  of  trying  the  op- 
posite system,  of  peace  and  fraternity  with  mankind,  and  the 
direction  of  all  our  means  and  faculties  to  the  purposes  of  im- 
provement instead  of  destruction.  With  Europe  we  have  few 
occasions  of  collision,  and  these,  with  a  little  prudence  and  for- 
bearance, may  be  generally  accommodated.  Of  the  brethren 
of  our  own  hemisphere,  none  are  yet,  or  for  an  age  to  come  will 
be,  in  a  shape,  condition,  or  disposition  t"  war  against  us.  And 
the  foothold  which  the  nations  of  Europe  nad  in  either  America, 
is  slipping  from  under  them,  so  that  we  shall  soon  be  rid  of  their 
neighborhood.  Cuba  alone  seems  at  present  to  hold  up  a  speck 
of  war  to  us.  Its  possession  by  Great  Britain  would  indeed  be 
a  great  calamity  to  us.  Could  we  induce  her  to  join  us  in  guar- 
anteeing its  independence  against  all  the  world,  except  Spain,  it 
would  be  nearly  as  valuable  to  us  as  if  it  were  our  own.  But 
should  she  take  it,  I  would  not  immediately  go  to  war  for  it ; 
because  the  first  war  on  other  accounts  will  give  it  to  us ;  or  the 
island  will  give  itself  to  us,  when  able  to  do  so.  While  no  duty, 
therefore,  calls  on  us  to  take  part  in  the  present  war  of  Europe, 
and  a  golden  harvest  offers  itself  in  reward  for  doing  nothing, 
peace  and  neutrality  seem  to  be  our  duty  and  interest.  We  may 
gratify  ourselves,  indeed,  with  a  neutrality  as  partial  to  Spain  as 
would  be  justifiable  without  giving  cause  of  war  to  her  adver- 


sary  ;  we  might  and  ought  to  avail  ourselves  of  the  happy  occa- 
sion of  procuring  and  cementing  a  cordial  reconciliation  with 
her,  hy  giving  assurance  of  every  friendly  office  which  neu- 
trality admits,  and  especially,  against  all  apprehension  of  our 
intermeddling  in  the  quarrel  with  her  colonies.  And  I  expect 
daily  and  confidently  to  hear  of  a  spark  kindled  in  France, 
which  will  employ  her  at  home,  and  relieve  Spain  from  all  fur- 
ther apprehensions  of  danger. 

That  England  is  playing  false  with  Spain  cannot  be  doubted. 
Her  government  is  looking  one  way  and  rowing  another.  It  is 
curious  to  look  back  a  little  on  past  events.  During  the  ascen- 
dancy of  Bonaparte,  the  word  among  the  herd  of  kings,  was 
"  sauve  qui  pent."  Each  shifted  for  himself,  and  left  his  brethren 
to  squander  and  do  the  same  as  they  could.  After  the  battle  of 
Waterloo,  and  the  military  possession  of  France,  they  rallied  and 
combined  in  common  cause,  to  maintain  each  other  against  any 
similar  and  future  danger.  And  in  this  alliance,  Louis,  now 
avowedly,  and  George,  secretly  but  solidly,  were  of  the  con- 
tracting parties  ;  and  there  can  be  no  doubt  that  the  allies  are 
bound  by  treaty  to  aid  England  with  their  armies,  should  insur- 
rection take  place  among  her  people.  The  coquetry  she  is  now 
playing  off  between  her  people  and  her  allies  is  perfectly  under- 
stood by  the  latter,  and  accordingly  gives  no  apprehensions  to 
France,  to  whom  it  is  all  explained.  The  diplomatic  corres- 
pondence she  is  now  displaying,  these  double  papers  fabricated 
merely  for  exhibition,  in  which  she  makes  herself  talk  of  morals 
and  principle,  as  if  her  qualms  of  conscience  would  not  permit 
her  to  go  all  lengths  with  her  Holy  Allies,  are  all  to  gull  her  own 
people.  It  is  a  theatrical  farce,  in  which  the  five  powers  are  the 
actors,  England  the  Tartufle,  and  her  people  the  dupes.  Playing 
thus  so  dextrously  into  each  others'  hands,  and  their  own  persons 
seeming  secured,  they  are  now  looking  to  their  privileged  orders. 
These  faithful  auxiliaries,  or  accomplices,  must  be  saved.  This 
war  is  evidently  that  of  the  general  body  of  the  aristocracy,  in 
which  England  is  also  acting  her  part.  "  Save  but  the  Nobles 
and  there  shall  be  no  war,"  says  she,  masking  her  measures  at 

VOL.   VI[.  19 


the  same  time  under  the  form  of  friendship  and  mediation,  and 
hypocritically,  while  a  party,  oflfering  herself  as  a  judge,  to  betray 
those  whom  she  is  not  permitted  openly  to  oppose.  A  fraudulent 
neutrality,  if  neutrality  at  all,  is  all  Spain  will  get  from  her. 
And  Spain,  probably,  perceives  this,  and  willingly  winks  at  it 
rather  than  have  her  weight  thrown  openly  into  the  other  scale. 
But  I  am  going  beyond  my  text,  and  sinning  against  the  adage 
of  carrying  coals  to  Newcastle.  In  hazarding  to  you  my  crude 
and  uninformed  notions  of  things  beyond  my  cognizance,  only 
be  so  good  as  to  remember  that  it  is  at  your  request,  and  with  as 
little  confidence  on  my  part  as  profit  on  yours.  You  will  do 
what  is  right,  leaving  the  people  of  Europe  to  act  their  follies 
and  crimes  among  themselves,  while  we  pursue  in  good  faith 
the  paths  of  peace  and  prosperity.  To  your  judgment  we  are 
willingly  resigned,  with  sincere  assurances  of  affectionate  esteem 
and  respect. 


MoNTiCEi.t.o,  June  12,  1823. 

Dear  Sir, — Our  correspondence  is  of  that  accommodating 
character,  which  admits  of  suspension  at  the  convenience  of 
either  party,  without  inconvenience  to  the  other.  Hence  this 
tardy  acknowledgment  of  your  favor  of  April  the  11th.  I  learn 
from  that  with  great  pleasure,  that  you  have  resolved  on  con- 
tinuing your  history  of  parties.  Our  opponents  are  far  ahead  of 
us  in  preparations  for  placing  their  cause  favorably  before  pos- 
terity. Yet  I  hope  even  from  some  of  them  the  escape  of  pre- 
cious truths,  in  angry  explosions  or  effusions  of  vanity,  which  will 
betray  the  genuiae  monarchism  of  their  principles.  They  do 
not  themselves  believe  what  they  endeavor  to  inculcate,  that  we 
were  an  opposition  party,  not  on  principle,  but  merely  seeking 
for  ofHce.  The  fact  is,  that  at  the  formation  of  our  government, 
many  had  formed  their  political  opinions  on  European  writings 
and  practices,  believing  the  experience  of  old  countries,  and  es- 
pecially of  England,  abusive  as  it  was,  to  be  a  safer  guide  thai 


mere  theory.  The  doctrines  of  Europe  were,  that  men  in  nu- 
merous associations  cannot  be  restrained  within  the  Hmits  of 
order  and  justice,  but  by  forces  physical  and  moral,  wielded  over 
them  by  authorities  independent  of  their  will.  Hence  their  or- 
ganization of  kings,  hereditary  nobles,  and  priests.  Still  furthei 
to  constrain  the  brute  force  of  the  people,  they  deem  it  necessary 
to  keep  them  down  by  hard  labor,  poverty  and  ignorance,  and 
to  take  from  them,  as  from  bees,  so  much  of  their  earnings,  as 
that  unremitting  labor  shall  be  necessary  to  obtain  a  sufficient 
surplus  barely  to  sustain  a  scanty  and  miserable  life.  And  these 
earnings  they  apply  to  maintain  their  privileged  orders  in  splen- 
dor and  idleness,  to  fascinate  the  eyes  of  the  people,  and  excite 
in  them  an  humble  adoration  and  submission,  as  to  an  order  of 
superior  beings.  Although  few  among  us  had  gone  all  these 
lengths  of  opinion,  yet  many  had  advanced,  some  more,  some 
less,  on  the  way.  And  in  the  convention  which  formed  our 
government,  they  endeavored  to  draw  the  cords  of  power  as  tight 
as  Ihey  could  obtain  them,  to  lessen  the  dependence  of  the  gen- 
eral functionaries  on  their  constituents,  to  subject  to  them  those 
of  the  States,  and  to  weaken  their  means  of  maintaining  the 
steady  equilibrium  which  the  majority  of  the  convention  had 
deemed  salutary  for  both  branches,  general  and  local.  To  re- 
cover, therefore,  in  practice  the  powers  which  the  nation  had 
refused,  and  to  warp  to  their  own  wishes  those  actually  given, 
was  the  steady  object  of  the  federal  party.  Ours,  on  the  con- 
trary, was  to  maintain  the  will  of  the  majority  of  the  conven- 
tion, and  of  the  people  themselves.  We  believed,  with  them, 
that  man  was  a  rational  animal,  endowed  by  nature  with  rights, 
and  with  an  innate  sense  of  justice  ;  and  that  he  could  be  re- 
strained from  wrong  and  protected  in  right,  by  moderate  powers, 
confided  to  persons  of  his  own  choice,  and  held  to  their  duties 
by  dependence  on  his  own  will.  We  believed  that  the  compli- 
cated organization  of  kings,  nobles,  and  priests,  was  not  the 
wisest  nor  best  to  effect  the  happiness  of  associated  man  ;  that 
wisdom  and  virtue  were  not  hereditary  ;  that  the  trappings  of 
such  a  machinery,  consumed  by  their  expense,  those  earnings  of 


industry,  they  were  meant  to  protect,  and,  by  the  inequalities 
they  produced,  exposed  liberty  to  sufferance.  We  believed  that 
men,  enjoying  in  ease  and  security  the  full  fruits  of  their  own 
industry,  enlisted  by  all  their  interests  on  the  side  of  law  and 
order,  habituated  to  think  for  themselves,  and  to  follow  their 
reason  as  their  guide,  would  be  more  easily  and  safely  governed, 
than  with  minds  nourished  ia  error,  and  vitiated  and  debased, 
as  in  Europe,  by  ignorance,  indigence  and  oppression.  The 
cherishment  of  the  people  then  was  our  principle,  the  fear  and 
distrust  of  them,  that  of  the  other  party.  Composed,  as  we  wet's, 
of  the  landed  and  laboring  interests  of  the  country,  we  could  not 
be  less  anxious  for  a  government  of  law  and  order  than  were  the 
inhabitants  of  the  cities,  the  strongholds  of  federalism.  And 
whether  our  efforts  to  save  the  principles  and  form  of  our  consti- 
tution have  not  been  salutary,  let  the  present  republican  freedom, 
order  and  prosperity  of  our  country  determine.  History  may 
distort  truth,  and  will  distort  it  for  a  time,  by  the  superior  efforts, 
at  justification  of  those  who  are  conscious  of  needing  it  most. 
Nor  will  the  opening  scenes  of  our  present  government  be  seen 
in  their  true  aspect,  until  the  letters  of  the  day,  now  held  in  pri- 
vate hoards,  shall  be  broken  up  and  laid  open  to  public  view. 
What  a  treasure  will  be  found  in  General  Washington's  cabinet, 
when  it  shall  pass  into  the  hajids  of  as  candid  a  friend  to  truth  as 
he  was  himself !  When  no  longer,  like  Caesar's  notes  and  memo- 
randums in  the  hands  of  Anthony,  it  shall  be  open  to  the  high 
priests  of  federalism  only,  and  garbled  to  say  so  much,  and  no 
'more,  as  suits  their  views  ! 

With  respect  to  his  farewell  address,  to  the  authorship  of 
which,  it  seems,  there  are  conflicting  claims,  I  can  state  to  you 
some  facts.  He  had  determined  to  decline  a  re-election  at  the 
end  of  his  first  term,  and  so  far  determined,  that  he  had  requested 
Mr.  Madison  to  prepare  for  him  something  valedictory,  to  be  ad- 
dressed to  his  constituents  on  his  retirement.  This  was  done, 
but  he  was  finally  persuaded  to  acquiesce  in  a  second  election, 
to  which  no  one  more  strenuously  pressed  him  than  myself,  from 
a  'conviction  of  the  importance  of  strengthening,  by  longer  habit, 


the  respect  necessary  for  that  office,  which  the  weight  of  his  char- 
acter only  coiild  effect.  When,  at  the  end  of  this  second  term, 
his  Valedictory  came  out,  Mr.  Madison  recognized  in  it  several 
passages  of  his  draught,  several  others,  we  were  both  satisfied, 
were  from  the  pen  of  Hamilton,  and  others  from  that  of  the  Pres- 
ident himself.  These  he  probably  put  into  the  hands  of  Hamil- 
ton to  form  into  a  whole,  and  hence  it  may  all  appear  in  Hamil- 
ton's hand-writing,  as  if  it  were  all  of  his  composition. 

I  have  stated  above,  that  the  original  objects  of  the  federalists 
were,  1st,  to  warp  our  government  more  to  the  form  and  princi- 
ples of  monarchy,  and,  2d,  to  weaken  the  barriers  of  the  State 
governments  as  coordinate  powers.  In  the  first  they  have  been 
so  completely  foiled  by  the  universal  spirit  of  the  nation,  that 
they  have  abandoned  the  enterprise,  shrunk  from  the  odium  of 
their  old  appellation,  taken  to  themselves  a  participation  of  ours, 
and  under  the  pseudo-republican  mask,  are  now  aiming  at  their 
second  object,  and  strengthened  by  unsuspecting  or  apostate  re- 
cruits from  our  ranks,  are  advancing  fast  towards  an  ascendancy. 
I  have  been  blamed  for  saying,  that  a  prevalence  of  the  doc- 
trines of  consolidation  would  one  day  call  for  reformation  or  rev- 
olution. I  answer  by  asking  if  a  single  State  of  the  Union 
would  have  agreed  to  the  constitution,  had  it  given  all  powers 
to  the  General  Government  ?  If  the  whole  opposition  to  it  did 
not  proceed  from  the  jealousy  and  fear  of  every  State,  of  being 
subjected  to  the  other  States  in  matters  merely  its  own  ?  And 
if  there  is  any  reason  to  believe  the  States  more  disposed  now 
than  then,  to  acquiesce  in  this  general  surrender  of  all  their 
rights  and  powers  to  a  consolidated  government,  one  and  undi- 
vided ? 

You  request  me  confidentially,  to  examine  the  question,  wheth- 
er the  Supreme  Court  has  advanced  beyond  its  constitutional 
hmits,  and  trespassed  on  those  of  the  State  authorities  ?  I  do 
not  undertake  it,  my  dear  Sir,  because  I  am  unable.  Age  and 
the  wane  of  mind  consequent  on  it,  have  disqualified  me  from 
investigations  so  severe,  and  researches  so  laborious.  And  it  is 
the  less  necessary  in  this  case,  as  having  been  already  done  by 


others  with  a  logic  and  learning  to  which  I  could  add  nothing 
On  the  decision  of  the  case  of  Cohens  vs.  The  State  of  Virginiai 
in  the  Supreme  Court  of  the  United  States,  in  March,  1821, 
Judge  Roane,  under  the  signature  of  Algernon  Sidney,  wrote  for 
the  Enquirer  a  series  of  papers  on  the  law  of  that  case.  I  con- 
sidered these  papers  maturely  as  they  came  out,  and  confess  that 
ihey  appeared  to  me  to  pulverize  every  word  which  had  been 
delivered  by  Judge  Marshall,  of  the  extra-judicial  part  of  his 
opinion  ;  and  all  was  extra-judicial,  except  the  decision  that  the 
act  of  Congress  had  not  purported  to  give  to  the  corporation  of 
Washington  the  authority  claimed  by  their  lottery  law,  of  con- 
trolling the  laws  of  the  States  within  the  States  themselves.  But 
unable  to  claim  that  case,  he  could  not  let  it  go  entirely,  but 
went  on  gratuitously  to  prove,  that  notwithstanding  the  eleventh 
amendment  of  the  constitution,  a  State  could  be  brought  as  a  de- 
fendant, to  the  bar  of  his  court ;  and  again,  that  Congress  might 
authorize  a  corporation  of  its  territory  to  exercise  legislation 
within  a  State,  and  paramount  to  the  laws  of  that  State.  I  cite 
the  sum  and  result  only  of  his  doctrines,  according  to  the  impres- 
sion made  on  my  mind  at  the  time,  and  still  remaining.  If  not 
strictly  accurate  in  circumstance,  it  is  so  in  substance.  This  doc- 
trine was  so  completely  refuted  by  Roane,  that  if  he  can  be  an- 
swered, I  surrender  human  reason  as  a  vain  and  useless  faculty, 
given  to  bewilder,  and  not  to  guide  us.  And  I  mention  this  par- 
ticular case  as  one  only  of  several,  because  it  gave  occasion  to 
that  thorough  examination  of  the  constitutional  limits  between 
the  General  and  State  jurisdictions,  which  you  have  asked  for. 
There  were  two  other  writers  in  the  same  paper,  under  the  sig- 
natures of  Fletcher  of  Saltoun,  and  Somers,  who,  in  a  few  es- 
says, presented  some  very  luminous  and  striking  views  of  the 
question.  And  there  was  a  particular  paper  which  recapitulated 
all  the  cases  in  which  it  was  thought  the  federal  court  had 
usurped  on  the  State  jurisdictions.  These  essays  will  be  found 
in  the  Enquirers  of  1821,  from  May  the  10th  to  July  the  13th. 
It  is  not  in  my  present  power  to  send  them  to  you,  but  if  Ritchie 
can  furnish  them,  I  will  procure  and  forward  them.     If  they 


had  been  read  in  the  other  States,  as  they  were  here,  I  think 
they  would  have  left,  there  as  here,  no  dissentients  from  then 
do'-trine.  The  subject  was  taken  up  by  our  legislature  of 
1821— '22,  and  two  draughts  of  remonstrances  were  prepared 
and  discussed.  As  well  as  I  remember,  there  was  no  difference 
of  opinion  as  to  the  matter  of  right ;  but  there  was  as  to  the 
expediency  of  a  remonstrance  at  that  time,  the  general  mind  of 
the  States  being  then  under  extraordinary  excitement  by  the 
Missouri  question  ;  and  it  was  dropped  on  that  consideration. 
But  this  case  is  not  dead,  it  only  sleepeth.  The  Indian  Chief 
said  he  did  not  go  to  war  for  every  petty  injury  by  itself,  but  put 
it  into  his  pouch,  and  when  that  was  full,  he  then  made  war. 
Thank  Heaven,  we  have  provided  a  more  peaceable  and  rational 
mode  of  redress. 

This  practice  of  Judge  Marshall,  of  travelling  out  of  his  case 
to  prescribe  what  the  law  would  be  in  a  moot  case  not  before 
the  court,  is  very  irregular  and  very  censurable.  1  recollect  an- 
other instance,  and  the  more  particularly,  perhaps,  because  it  in 
some  measure  bore  on  myself.  Among  the  midnight  appoint- 
tnents  of  Mr.  Adams,  were  commissions  to  some  federal  justices 
of  the  peace  for  Alexandria.  These  were  signed  and  sealed  by 
him,  but  not  delivered.  I  found  them  on  the  table  of  the  de- 
partment of  State,  on  my  entrance  into  office,  and  I  forbade  their 
delivery.  Marbury,  named  in  one  of  them,  applied  to  the  Su- 
preme Court  for  a  mandamus  to  the  Secretary  of  State,  (Mr. 
Madison)  to  deliver  the  commission  intended  for  him.  The 
Court  determined  at  once,  that  being  an  original  process,  they  had 
no  cognizance  of  it ;  and  therefore  the  question  before  them  was 
ended.  But  the  Chief  Justice  went  on  to  lay  down  what  the 
law  would  be,  had  they  jurisdiction  of  the  case,  to-wit :  that  they 
should  command  the  delivery.  The  object  was  clearly  to  in- 
struct any  other  court  having  the  jurisdiction,  what  they  should 
do  if  Marbury  should  apply  to  them.  Besides  the  impropriety 
of  this  gratuitous  interference,  could  anj^thing  exceed  the  perver- 
sion of  law  ?  For  if  there  is  any  principle  of  law  never  yet  con- 
tradicted, it  is  that  delivery  is  one  of  the  essentials  to  the  validity 


of  a  deed.  Although  signed  and  sealed,  yet  as  long  as  it  remains 
in  the  hands  of  the  party  himself,  it  is  in  fieri  only,  it  is  not  a 
deed,  and  can  be  made  so  only  by  its  delivery.  In  the  hands  of 
a  third  person  it  may  be  made  an  escrow.  But  whatever  is  in 
the  executive  ofRces  is  certainly  deemed  to  be  in  the  hands  of 
the  President ;  and  in  this  case,  was  actually  in  my  hands,  be- 
cause, when  I  countermanded  them,  there  was  as  yet  no  Secre- 
tary of  State.  Yet  this  case  of  Marbury  and  Madison  is  con- 
tinually cited  by  bench  and  bar,  as  if  it  were  settled  law,  with- 
out any  animadversion  on  its  being  merely  an  obiter  dissertation 
of  the  Chief  Justice. 

It  may  be  impracticable  to  lay  down  any  general  formula  of 
words  which  shall  decide  at  once,  and  with  precision,  in  every 
case,  this  limit  of  jurisdiction.  But  there  are  two  canons  which 
will  guide  us  safely  in  most  of  the  cases.  1st.  The  capital  and 
leading  object  of  the  constitution  was  to  leave  with  the  States 
all  authorities  which  respected  their  own  citizens  only,  and  to 
transfer  to  the  United  States  those  which  respected  citizens  of 
foreign  or  other  States :  to  make  us  several  as  to  ourselves,  but 
one  as  to  all  others.  In  the  latter  case,  then,  constructions  should 
lean  to  the  general  jurisdiction,  if  the  words  will  bear  it ;  and  in 
favor  of  the  States  in  the  former,  if  possible  to  be  so  construed. 
And  indeed,  between  citizens  and  citizens  of  the  same  State,  and 
under  their  own  laws,  I  know  but  a  single  case  in  which  a  juris- 
diction is  given  to  the  General  Government.  That  is,  where 
anything  but  gold  or  silver  is  made  a  lawful  tender,  or  the  obli- 
gation of  contracts  is  any  otherwise  impaired.  The  separate  leg- 
islatures had  so  often  abused  that  power,  that  the  citizens  them- 
selves chose  to  trust  it  to  the  general,  rather  than  to  their  own 
si;ecial  authorities.  2d.  On  every  question  of  construction,  carry 
ourselves  back  to  the  time  when  the  constitution  was  adopted, 
recollect  the  spirit  manifested  in  the  debates,  aud  instead  of  try- 
ing what  meaning  may  be  squeezed  out  of  the  text,  or  invented 
against  it,  conform  to  the  probable  one  in  which  it  was  passed. 
Let  us  try  Cohen's  case  by  these  canons  only,  referring  tdways, 
however,  for  full  argument,  to  the  essays  before  cited. 


^.  It  was  between  a  citizen  and  his  own  State,  and  under  a 
law  of  his  State.  It  was  a  domestic  case,  therefore,  and  not  a 
foreign  one. 

2.  Can  it  be  beheved,  that  under  the  jealousies  prevailing 
against  the  General  Government,  at  the  adoption  of  the  constitu- 
tion, the  States  meant  to  surrender  the  authority  of  preserving 
order,  of  enforcing  moral  duties  and  restraining  vice,  within  their 
own  territory  ?  And  this  is  the  present  case,  that  of  Cohen  being 
under  the  ancient  and  general  law  of  gaming.  Can  any  good 
be  effected  by  taking  from  the  States  the  moral  rule  of  their 
citizens,  and  subordinating  it  to  the  general  authority,  or  to  one 
of  their  corporations,  which  may  justify  forcing  the  meaning  of 
words,  hunting  after  possible  constructions,  and  hanging  infer- 
ence on  inference,  from  heaven  to  earth,  like  Jacob's  ladder  ? 
Sach  an  intention  was  impossible,  and  such  a  licentiousness  of 
construction  and  inference,  if  exercised  by  both  governments,  as 
may  be  done  with  equal  right,  would  equally  authorize  both  to 
claim  all  power,  general  and  particular,  and  break  up  the  founda- 
tions of  the  Union.  Laws  are  made  for  men  of  ordinary  under- 
standing, and  should,  therefore,  be  construed  by  the  ordinary  rules 
of  common  sense.  Their  meaning  is  not  to  be  sought  for  in 
metaphysical  subtleties,  which  may  make  anything  mean  every- 
thing or  nothing,  at  pleasure.  It  should  be  left  to  the  sophisms 
of  advocates,  whose  trade  it  is,  to  prove  that  a  defendant  is  a 
plaintiff,  though  dragged  into  court,  torto  collo,  like  Bonaparte's 
volunteers,  into  the  field  in  chains,  or  that  a  power  has  been 
given,  because  it  ought  to  have  been  given,  et  alia  talia.  The 
States  supposed  that  by  their  tenth  amendment,  they  had  secured 
themselves  against  constructive  powers.  They  were  not  lessoned 
yet  by  Cohen's  case,  nor  aware  of  the  slipperiness  of  the  eels  of 
the  law.  I  ask  for  no  straining  of  words  against  the  General 
Government,  nor  yet  against  the  States.  I  believe  the  States  can 
best  govern  our  home  concerns,  and  ^he  General  Government  om* 
foreign  ones.  I  wish,  therefore,  to  see  maintained  that  whole- 
some distribution  of  powers  established  by  the  constitution  for 
the  limitation  of  both  ;  and  never  to  see  all  offices  transferred  to 


Washington,  where,  further  withdrawn  from  the  eyes  of  the  peo. 
pie,  they  may  more  secretly  be  bought  and  sold  as  at  market. 

Bat  the  Chief  Justice  says,  "  there  must  be  an  ultimate  arbiter 
somewhere."  True,  there  must ;  but  does  that  prove  it  is  either 
party  ?  The  ultimate  arbiter  is  the  people  of  the  Utiion,  as- 
sembled by  their  deputies  in  convention,  at  the  call  of  Congress, 
or  of  two-thirds  of  the  States.  Let  them  decide  to  which  they 
mean  to  give  an  authority  claimed  by  two  of  their  organs.  And 
it  has  been  the  peculiar  wisdom  and  felicity  of  our  constitution, 
to  have  provided  this  peaceable  appeal,  where  that  of  other  na- 
tions is  at  once  to  force. 

I  rejoice  in  the  example  you  set  of  seriatim  opinions.  I  have 
heard  it  often  noticed,  and  always  with  high  approbation.  Some 
of  your  brethren  will  be  encouraged  to  follow  it  occasionally, 
and  in  time,  it  may  be  felt  by  all  as  a  duty,  and  the  sound  prac- 
tice of  the  primitive  court  be  again  restored.  Why  should  not 
every  judge  be  asked  his  opinion,  and  give  it  from  the  bench,  if 
only  by  yea  or  nay  ?  Besides  ascertaining  the  fact  of  his  opin- 
ion, which  the  public  have  a  right  to  know,  in  order  to  judge 
whether  it  is  impeachable  or  not,  it  would  show  whether  the 
opinions  were  unanimous  or  not,  and  thus  settle  more  exactly 
the  weight  of  their  authority. 

The  close  of  my  second  sheet  warns  me  that  it  is  time  now 
to  relieve  you  from  this  letter  of  unmerciful  length.  Indeed,  I 
wonder  how  I  have  accomplished  it,  with  two  crippled  wrists, 
the  one  scarcely  able  to  move  my  pen,  the  other  to  hold  my  pa- 
per. But  I  am  hurried  sometimes  beyond  the  sense  of  pain, 
when  unbosoming  myself  to  friends  who  harmonize  with  me 
in  principle.  You  and  I  may  dilier  occasionally  in  details  of 
minor  consetpence,  as  no  two  minds,  more  than  two  faces,  are 
the  same  in  every  feature.  But  our  general  objects  arc  the  same, 
to  preserve  the  republican  form  and  principles  of  our  constitution 
and  cleave  to  the  salutary  distribution  of  powers  which  that  has 
estabhshed.  These  are  the  two  sheet  anchors  of  our  Union.  If 
driven  from  either,  we  shall  be  in  danger  of  foundering.  To  my 
prayers  for  its  safety  and  perpetuity,  I  add  those  for  the  continua- 
tion of  your  health,  happiness,  and  usefulness  to  your  country. 



MoNTicBLi.o,  June  23,  1823. 

Deah  Sir, — I  have  been  lately  visited  by  a  Mr.  Miralla,  a  na- 
tive of  Buenos  Ayres,  but  resident  in  Cuba  for  the  last  seven  or 
eight  years ;  a  person  of  intelligence,  of  much  information,  and 
frankly  communicative.  I  believe,  indeed,  he  is  known  to  you. 
I  availed  myself  of  the  opportunity  of  learning  what  was  the 
state  of  public  sentiment  in  Cuba  as  to  their  future  course.  He 
says  they  would  be  satisfied  to  remain  as  they  are ;  but  all  are 
sensible  that  that  cannot  be ;  that  whenever  circumstances  shall 
render  a  separation  from  Spain  necessary,  a  perfect  independance 
would  be  their  choice,  provided  they  could  see  a  certainty  of 
protection ;  but  that,  without  that  prospect,  they  would  be  divid- 
ed in  opinion  between  an  incorporation  with  Mexico,  and  with 
the  United  States. — Columbia  being  too  remote  for  prompt  sup- 
port. The  considerations  in  favor  of  Mexico  are  that  the  Hav- 
ana would  be  the  emporium  for  all  the  produce  of  that  immense 
and  wealthy  country,  and  of  course,  the  medium  of  all  its  com- 
merce ;  that  having  no  ports  on  its  eastern  coast,  Cuba  would 
become  the  depot  of  its  naval  stores  and  strength,  and,  in  effect, 
would,  in  a  great  measure,  have  the  sinews  of  the  government  in 
its  hands.  That  in  favor  of  the  United  States  is  the  fact  that 
three-fourths  of  the  exportations  from  Havana  come  to  the  Unit- 
ed States,  that  they  are  a  settled  government,  the  power  which  can 
most  promptly  succor  them,  rising  to  an  eminence  promising 
future  security ;  and  of  which  they  would  make  a  member  of  the 
sovereigntv,  while  as  to  England,  they  would  be  only  a  colony, 
subordinated  to  her  interest,  and  that  there  is  not  a  man  in  the 
island  who  would  not  resist  her  to  the  bitterest  extremity.  Of 
this  last  sentiment  I  had  not  the  least  idea  at  the  date  of  my  late 
letters  to  you.  I  had  supposed  an  English  interest  there  quite  as 
strong  as  that  of  the  United  States,  and  therefore,  that,  to  avoid 
war,  and  keep  the  island  open  to  our  own  commerce,  it  would 
be  best  to  join  that  power  in  mutually  guaranteeing  its  independ- 
ence.    But  if  there  is  no  danger  of  its  falling  into  the  possession 


of  England,  I  must  retract  an  opinion  founded  on  an  error  of 
fact.  We  are  surely  under  no  obligation  to  give  her,  gratis,  an 
interest  which  she  has  not ;  and  the  whole  inhabitants  being 
averse  to  her,  and  the  climate  mortal  to  strangers,  its  continued 
military  occupation  by  her  would  be  impracticable.  It  is  better 
then  to  lie  still  in  readiness  to  receive  that  interesting  incorpora- 
tion when  solicited  by  herself.  For,  certainly,  her  addition  to 
our  confederacy  is  exactly  what  is  wanting  to  round  our  power 
as  a  nation  to  the  point  of  its  utmost  interest. 

I  have  thought  it  my  duty  to  acknowledge  my  error  on  this 
occasion,  and  to  repeat  a  truth  before  acknowledged,  that,  retired 
as  I  am,  I  know  too  little  of  the  affairs  of  the  world  to  form 
opinions  of  them  worthy  of  any  attention  ;  and  I  resign  myself 
with  reason,  and  perfect  confidence  to  the  care  and  guidance  of 
those  to  whom  the  helm  is  committed.  With  this  assurance,  ac- 
cept that  of  my  constant  and  affectionate  friendship  and  respect. 


MoNTiCKLLO,  July  16,  1823. 

Dear  Sir, — I  received  in  due  time  your  favor  of  June  16th, 
and  with  it  your  Syllabus  of  lectures  on  Spanish  literature.  I 
have  considered  this  with  great  interest  and  satisfaction,  as  it 
gives  me  a  model  of  course  I  wish  to  see  pursued  in  the  different 
branches  of  instruction  in  our  University,  i.  e.  a  methodical, 
critical,  and  profotmd  explanation  by  way  of  protection  of  every 
science  we  propose  to  teach.  I  am  not  fully  informed  of  the 
practices  at  Harvard,  but  there  is  one  from  which  we  shall  cer- 
tainly vary,  although  it  has  been  copied,  I  believe,  by  nearly 
every  college  and  academy  in  the  United  States.  That  is,  the 
holding  the  students  all  to  one  prescribed  course  of  reading,  and 
disallowing  exclusive  application  to  those  branches  only  which 
are  to  qualify  them  for  the  particular  vocations  to  wJiich  they 
are  destined.  We  shall,  on  the  contrary,  allow  them  uncontroled 
choice  in  the  lectm-es  they  shall  choose  to  attend,  and  requir* 

C  0  R  R  E  S  P  O  K  D  E  N  C  E .  301 

elementary  qualification  only,  and  sufficient  age.  Our  institu- 
tion will  proceed  on  the  principle  of  doing  all  the  good  it  can 
without  consulting  its  own  pride  or  ambition ;  of  letting  every 
one  come  and  listen  to  whatever  he  thinks  may  improve  the  con- 
dition of  his  mind.  The  rock  which  I  most  dread  is  the  disci- 
pline of  the  institution,  and  it  is  that  on  which  most  of  our  pub- 
lic schools  labor.  The  insubordination  of  our  youth  is  now  the 
greatest  obstacle  to  their  education.  We  may  lessen  the  difficul- 
ty, perhaps,  by  avoiding  too  much  government,  by  requiring  no 
useless  observances,  none  which  shall  merely  multiply  occasions 
for  dissatisfaction,  disobedience  and  revolt  by  referring  to  the 
more  discreet  of  themselves  the  minor  discipline,  the  graver  to 
the  civil  magistrates,  as  in  Edinburg.  On  this  head  I  am  anxious 
for  information  of  the  practices  of  other  places,  having  myself 
had  little  experience  of  the  government  of  youth.  I  presume 
there  are  printed  codes  of  the  rules  of  Harvard,  and  if  so,  you 
would  oblige  me  by  sending  me  a  copy,  and  of  those  of  any 
other  academy  which  you  think  can  furnish  anything  useful. 
You  flatter  me  with  a  visit  "as  soon  as  you  learn  that  the  Uni- 
versity is  fairly  opened."  A  visit  from  you  at  any  time  will  be 
the  most  welcome  possible  to  all  our  family,  who  remember  with 
peculiar  satisfaction  the  pleasure  they  received  from  your  former 
one.  But  were  I  allowed  to, name  the  time,  it  should  not  be  de- 
ferred beyond  the  autumn  of  the  ensuing  year.  Our  last  build- 
ing, and  that  which  will  be  the  principal  ornament  and  keystone, 
giving  unity  to  the  whole,  will  then  be  nearly  finished,  and  af- 
ford you  a  gratification  compensating  the  trouble  of  the  journey. 
We  shall  then,  also,  be  engaged  in  our  code  of  regulations  pre- 
paratory to  our  opening,  which  may,  perhaps,  take  place  in  the 
beginning  of  1825.  There  is  no  person  from  whose  information 
of  the  European  institutions,  and  especially  their  disciphne,  I 
should  expect  so  much  aid  in  that  difficult  work.  Come,  then, 
dear  Sir,  at  that,  or  any  earlier  epoch,  and  give  to  our  institution 
the  benefit  of  your  counsel.  I  know  that  you  scout,  as  I  do. 
the  idea  of  any  rivalship.  Our  views  are  Catholic  for  the  im- 
provement  of  our  country  by  science,  and   indeed,  it  is  better 

802  .lEFFEESOK'S    WORKS. 

even  for  your  own  University  to  have  its  yoke  nate  at  this  dis- 
tance, rather  than  to  force  a  nearer  one  from  the  increasing  ne- 
cessity for  it.  And  how  long  before  we  may  expect  others  in 
the  southern,  western,  and  middle  regions  of  this  vast  country? 

I  send  you  by  mail  a  print  of  the  ground-plan  of  our  institu- 
tion ;  it  may  give  you  some  idea  of  its  distribution  and  conven- 
iences, but  not  of  its  architecture,  which  being  chastely  classical, 
constitutes  one  of  its  distinguishing  characters.  I  am  much  in- 
debted for  your  kind  attentions  to  Mr.  Harrison ;  he  is  a  youth 
of  promise.  I  could  not  deny  myself  the  gratification  of  com- 
municating to  his  father  the  part  of  your  letter  respecting  him. 

Our  family  all  join  me  in  assurances  of  our  friendly  esteem 
and  great  respect. 


QoiNcv,  August  15,  1823. 

Watchman,  what  of  the  night  ?  Is  darkness  that  may  be  felt, 
to  prevail  over  the  whole  world  ?  or  can  you  perceive  any  rays 
of  a  returning  dawn  ?  Is  the  devil  to  be  the  "  Lord's  anointed" 
over  the  whole  globe  ?  or  do  you  foresee  the  fulfilment  of  the 
prophecies  according  to  Dr.  Priestley's  interpretation  of  them  ?  I 
know  not,  but  I  have  in  some  of  my  familiar,  and  frivolous  let- 
ters to  you,  told  the  story  four  times  over ;  but  if  I  have,  I  never 
applied  it  so  well  as  now. 

Not  long  after  the  denouement  of  the  tragedy  of  Louis  XTI, 
when  I  was  Vice-President,  my  friend  the  Doctor  came  to  break- 
fast with  me  alone  ;  he  was  very  sociable,  very  learned  and  elo- 
quent, on  the  subject  of  the  French  revolution.  It  was  opening 
a  new  era  in  the  world,  and  presenting  a  near  view  of  the  mil- 
lennium. I  listened ;  I  heard  with  great  attention  and  per- 
fect sang  froid.  At  last  I  asked  the  Doctor.  Do  you  really 
believe  the  French  will  establish  a  free  democratical  government 
in  France  ?  He  answered :  I  do  firmly  believe  it.  Will  you 
give  me  leave  to  ask  you  upon  what  grounds  you  entertain  this 


opinion?  Is  it  from  anything  you  ever  read  in  history?  Is 
there  any  instance  of  a  Roman  Catholic  monarchy  of  five  and 
twenty  millions  at  once  converted  into  a  free  and  national  people  ? 
No.  I  know  of  no  instance  like  it.  Is  there  anything  in  your 
knowledge  of  human  nature,  derived  from  books,  or  experience, 
that  any  nation,  ancient  or  modern,  consisting  of  such  multitudes 
of  ignorant  people,  ever  were,  or  ever  can  be  converted  suddenly 
into  materials  capable  of  conducting  a  free  government,  especial^ 
ly  a  democratical  republic  ?  No — I  know  nothing  of  the  kind. 
Well  then.  Sir,  what  is  the  ground  of  your  opinion  ?  The  an- 
swer was,  my  opinion  is  founded  altogether  upon  revelation,  and 
the  prophecies.  I  take  it  that  the  ten  horns  of  the  great  beast  in 
revelations,  mean  the  ten  crowned  heads  of  Europe  ;  and  that  the 
execution  of  the  King  of  France,  is  the  falling  oif  of  the  first  of 
those  horns ;  and  the  nine  monarchies  of  Europe  will  fall  one  af- 
ter another  in  the  same  way.  Such  was  the  enthusiasm  of  that 
great  man,  that  reasoning  machine.  After  all,  however,  he  did 
recollect  hirtiself  so  far  as  to  say  :  There  is,  however,  a  possibili- 
ty of  doubt ;  for  I  read  yesterday  a  book  put  into  my  hands,  by 
a  gentleman,  a  volume  of  travels  written  by  a  French  gentleman 
in  1659  ;  in  which  he  says  he  had  been  travelling  a  whole  year 
in  England;  into  every  part  of  it,  and  conversed  freely  with  all 
ranks  of  people ;  he  found  the  whole  nation  earnestly  engaged  in 
discussing  and  contriving  a  form  of  government  for  their  future 
regulations ;  there  was  but  one  point  in  which  they  all  agreed, 
and  in  that  they  were  unanimous:  that  monarchy,  nobility," 
and  prelacy  never  would  exist  in  England  again.  The  Doctor 
paused ;  and  said  :  Yet,  in  the  very  next  year,  the  whole  nation 
called  in  the  King  and  run  mad  with  nobility,  monarchy,  and 
prelacy.  I  am  no  King  killer ;  merely  because  they  are  Kings. 
Poor  creatures;  they  know  no  better ;  they  believe  sincerely  and 
conscientiously  that  God  made  them  to  rule  the  world.  I  would 
not,  therefore,  behead  them,  or  send  them  to  St.  Helena,  to  be 
ti'eated  as  Bonaparte  was ;  but  I  would  shut  them  up  like  the 
man  in  the  iron  mask  ;  feed  them  well,  give  them  as  much  finery 
as  they  pleased,  until  they  could  be  converted  to  right  reason  and 


common  sense.  I  have  nothing  to  communicate  from  this  part 
of  the  country,  except  that  you  must  not  be  surprised  if  you  hear 
something  wonderful  in  Boston  before  long.  With  my  profound 
respects  for  your  family,  and  half  a  century's  affection  for  your- 
self, I  am  your  humble  servant. 


MoNTioKLi.o,  August  30,  182.S. 

DejVh  Sib, — I  received  the  enclosed  letters  from  the  President 
with  a  request,  that  after  perusal  I  would  forward  them  to  you 
for  perusal  by  yourself  also,  and  to  be  returned  then  to  him. 

You  have  doubtless  seen  Timothy  Pickerings'  fourth  of  July 
observations  on  the  Declaration  of  Independence.  If  his  princi- 
ples and  prejudices,  personal  and  political,  gave  us  no  reason  to 
doubt  whether  he  had  tridy  quoted  the  information  he  alleges  to 
have  received  from  Mr.  Adams,  I  should  then  say,  that  in  some 
of  the  particulars,  Mr.  Adams'  memory  has  led  him  into  unques- 
tionable error.  At  the  age  of  eighty-eight,  and  forty-seven  years 
after  the  transactions  of  Independence,  this  is  not  wonderful. 
Nor  should  I,  at  the  age  of  eighty,  on  the  small  advantage  of 
that  difference  only,  venture  to  oppose  my  memory  to  his,  were 
it  not  supported  by  written  notes,  taken  by  myself  at  the  mo- 
ment and  on  the  spot.  He  says,  "  the  committee  of  five,  to  wit, 
Dr.  Franklin,  Sherman,  Livingston,  and  ourselves,  met,  discussed 
the  subject,  and  then  appointed  him  and  myself  to  make  the 
draught  ;  that  we,  as  a  sub-committee,  met,  and  after  the  urgen- 
cies of  each  on  the  other,  I  consented  to  undertake  the  task ;  that 
the  draught  being  made,  we,  the  sub-committee,  met,  and  conned 
the  paper  over,  and  he  does  not  remember  that  he  made  or  sug- 
gested a  single  alteration."  Now  these  details  are  quite  incor- 
rect The  committee  of  five  met ;  no  such  thing  as  a  sub-com- 
mittee was  proposed,  but  they  unanimously  pressed  on  myself 
alone  to  undertake  the  draught.  I  consented ;  I  drew  it ;  but  be- 
fore I  reported  it  to  the  committee,  I  communicated  it  separately 


to  Dr.  Franklin  and  Mr.  Adams,  requesting  their  corrections,  be- 
cause they  were  the  two  members  of  whose  judgments  and 
amendments  I  wished  most  to  have  the  benefit,  before  presenting 
it  to  the  committee  ;  and  you  have  seen  the  original  paper  now 
in  my  hands,  with  the  corrections  of  Dr.  Franklin  and  Mr.  Adams 
interlined  in  their  own  hand  writings.  Their  alterations  were 
two  or  three  only,  and  merely  verbal.  I  then  wrote  a  fair  copy, 
reported  it  to  the  committee,  and  from  them,  unaltered,  to  Con- 
gress. ■  This  personal  communication  and  consultation  with  Mr. 
Adams,  he  has  misremembered  into  the  actings  of  a  sub-commit- 
tee. Pickering's  observations,  and  Mr.  Adams'  in  addition,  "  thac 
it  contained  no  new  ideas,  that  it  is  a  common-place  compilation, 
its  sentiments  hacknied  in  Congress  for  two  years  before,  and  its 
essence  contained  in  Otis'  pamphlet,"  may  all  be  true.  Of  that 
I  am  not  to  be  the  judge.  Richard  Henry  Lee  charged  it  as 
copied  from  Locke's  treatise  on  government.  Otis'  pamphlet  I 
never  saw,  and  whether  I  had  gathered  my  ideas  from  reading 
or.reflection  I  do  not  know.  I  know  only  that  I  turned  to  neither 
book  nor  pamphlet  while  writing  it.  I  did  not  consider  it  as 
any  part  of  my  charge  to  invent  new  ideas  altogether,  and  to  of- 
fer no  sentiment  which  had  ever  been  expressed  before.  Had 
Mr.  Adams  been  so  restrained.  Congress  would  have  lost  the 
benefit  of  his  bold  and  impressive  advocations  of  the  rights  of 
Revolution.  For  no  man's  confident  and  fervid  addresses,  more 
than  Mr.  Adams',  encouraged  and  supported  us  through  the  difii- 
culties  surromding  us,  which,  like  the  ceaseless  action  of  gravity 
weighed  on  us  by  night  and  by  day.  Yet,  on  the  same  ground, 
we  may  ask  what  of  these  elevated  thoughts  was  new,  or  can  be 
affirmed  never  before  to  have  entered  the  conceptions  of  man  ? 

Whether,  also,  the  sentiments  of  Independence,  and  the  reasons 
for  declaring  it,  which  make  so  great  a  portion  of  the  instrument, 
had  been  hackneyed  in  Congress  for  two  years  before  the  4th  of 
July,  '76,  or  this  dictum  also  of  Mr.  Adams  be  another  slip  of  me- 
mory, let  history  say.  This,  however,  I  will  say  for  Mr.  Adams, 
that  he  supported  the  Declaration  with  zeal  and  ability,  fighting 
fearlessly  for  every  word  of  it.     As  to  myself,  I  thought  it  a  duty 

VOL.  vn.  20 


to  be,  on  that  occasion,  a  passive  auditor  of  the  opinions  of  others 
more  impartial  judges  than  I  could  be,  of  its  merits  or  demerits 
During  the  debate  I  was  sitting  by  Doctor  Franklin,  and  he  ob- 
served that  I  was  writhing  a  little  under  the  acrimonious  criti- 
cisms on  some  of  its  parts ;  and  it  was  on  that  occasion,  that  by- 
way of  comfort,  he  told  me  the  story  of  John  Thompson,  the 
liatter,  and  his  new  sign. 

Timothy  thinks  the  instrument  the  better  for  having  a  fourth 
of  it  expunged.  He  would  have  thought  it  still  better,  had  the 
other  three-fourths  gone  out  also,  all  but  the  single  sentiment 
(the  only  one  he  approves),  which  recommends  friendship  to  his 
dear  England,  whenever  she  is  willing  to  be  at  peace  with  us. 
His  insinuations  are,  that  although  "  the  high  tone  of  the  instru- 
ment was  in  unison  with  the  warm  feelings  of  the  times,  this 
sentiment  of  habitual  friendship  to  England  should  never  be  for- 
gotten, and  that  the  duties  it  enjoins  should  especially  be  borne 
in  mind  on  every  celebration  of  this  anniversary."  In  other 
words,  that  the  Declaration,  as  being  a  libel  on  the  government 
of  England,  composed  in  times  of  passion,  should  now  be  buried 
in  utter  oblivion,  to  spare  the  feelings  of  our  English  friends  and 
Angloman  fellow-citizens.  But  it  is  not  to  wound  them  that  we 
wish  to  keep  it  in  mind ;  but  to  cherish  the  principles  of  the  in- 
strument in  the  bosoms  of  our  own  citizens :  and  it  is  a  heavenly 
comfort  to  see  that  these  principles  are  yet  so  strongly  felt,  as  to 
render  a  circumstance  so  trifling  as  this  little  lapse  of  memory 
of  Mr.  Adams,"  worthy  of  being  solemnly  announced  and  sup- 
ported at  an  anniversary  assemblage  of  the  nation  on  its  birth- 
day. In  opposition,  however,  to  Mr.  Pickering,  I  pray  God  that 
these  principles  may  be  eternal,  and  close  the  prayer  with  my 
affectionate  wishes  for  yourself  of  long  life,  health  and  happiness. 



MoNTiCf;n.o,  September  4,  1823. 

Deak  Sie, — Your  letter  of  August  the  15th  was  received  in 
due  time,  and  with  the  welcome  of  everything  which  comes 
fro  fl  you.  With  its  opinions  on  the  difficulties  of  revolutions 
fro/a  despotism  to  freedom,  I  very  much  concur.  The  genera- 
tion which  commences  a  revolution  rarely  completes  it.  Habitu- 
ated from  their  infancy  to  passive  submission  of  body  and  mind 
to  their  kings  and  priests,  they  are  not  qualified  when  called  on 
to  think  and  provide  for  themselves ;  and  their  inexperience, 
their  ignorance  and  bigotry  make  them  instruments  often,  in  the 
hands  of  the  Bonapartes  and  Iturbides,  to  defeat  their  own  rights 
and  purposes.  This  is  the  present  situation  of  Europe  and  Span- 
ish America.  But  it  is  not  desperate.  The  light  which  has 
been  shed  on  mankind  by  the  art  of  printing,  has  eminently 
changed  the  condition  of  the  world.  As  yet,  that  light  has 
dawned  on  the  middling  classes  only  of  the  men  in  Europe 
The  kings  and  the  rabble,  of  equal  ignorance,  have  not  yet  re- 
ceived its  rays ;  but  it  continues  to  spread,  and  while  printing  is 
pjeserved,  it  can  no  more  recede  than  the  sun  return  on  his  course. 
A  first  attempt  to  recover  the  right  of  self-government  may  fail, 
so  may  a  second,  a  third,  &c.  But  as  a  younger  and  more  in- 
structed race  comes  on,  the  sentiment  becomes  more  and  more 
intuitive,  and  a  fourth,  a  fifth,  or  some  subsequent  one  of  the 
ever  renewed  attempts  will  ultimately  succeed.  In  France,  the 
first  effort  was  defeated  by  Robespierre,  the  second  by  Bona- 
parte, the  third  by  Louis  XYIII.  and  his  holy  allies :  another  is 
yet  to  come,  and  all  Europe,  Russia  excepted,  has  caught  the 
spirit ;  and  all  will  attain  representative  government,  more  or 
less  perfect.  This  is  now  well  understood  to  be  a  necessary 
check  on  kings,  whom  they  will  probably  think  it  more  prudent 
to  chain  and  tame,  than  to  exterminate.  To  attain  all  this, 
however,  rivers  of  blood  must  yet  flow,  and  years  of  desolation 
pass  over ;  yet  the  object  is  worth  rivers  of  blood,  and  years  of 
desolation.     For  what  inheritance  so  valuable,  can  man  leave  to 


his  posterity  ?  The  spirit  of  the  Spaniard,  and  his  deadly  and 
eternal  hatred  to  a  Frenchman,  give  me  much  confidence  that 
he  will  never  submit,  but  finally  defeat  this  atrocious  violation 
of  the  laws  of  God  and  man,  under  which  he  is  suffering ;  and 
the  wisdom  and  firmness  of  the  Cortes,  afford  reasonable  hope, 
that  that  nation  will  settle  down  in  a  temperate  representative 
government,  with  an  executive  properly  subordinated  to  that. 
Portugal,  Italy,  Prussia,  Germany,  Greece,  will  follow  suit, 
You  and  I  shall  look  down  from  another  world  on  these  glo- 
rious achievements  to  man,  which  will  add  to  the  joys  even 
of  heaven. 

I  observe  your  toast  of  Mr.  Jay  on  the  4th  of  July,  wherein 
you  say  that  the  omission  of  his  signature  to  the  Declaration  of 
Independence  was  by  accident.  Our  impressions  as  to  this  fact 
being  different,  I  shall  be  glad  to  have  mine  corrected,  if  wrong. 
Jay,  you  know,  had  been  in  constant  opposition  to  our  laboring 
majority.  Our  estimate  at  the  time  was,  that  he,  Dickinson  and 
Johnson  of  Maryland,  by  their  ingenuity,  perseverance  and  par- 
tiality to  our  English  connection,  had  constantly  kept  us  a  year 
behind  where  we  ought  to  have  been  in  our  preparations  and  pro- 
ceedings. From  about  the  date  of  the  Virginia  instructions  of 
May  the  15th,  1776,  to  declare  Independence,  Mr.  Jay  absented 
himself  from  Congress,  and  never  came  there  again  until  Decem- 
ber, 1778.  Of  course,  he  had  no  part  in  the  discussions  or  de- 
cision of  that  question.  The  instructions  to  their  Delegates  by 
the  Convention  of  New  York,  then  sitting,  to  sign  the  Declara- 
tion, were  presented  to  Congress  on  the  15th  of  July  only,  and 
on  that  day  the  journals  show  the  absence  of  Mr.  Jay,  by  a  let- 
ter received  from  him,  as  they  had  done  as  early  as  the  29th  of 
May  by  another  letter.  And  I  think  he  had  been  omitted  by 
the  convention  on  a  new  election  of  Delegates,  when  they 
changed  their  instructions.  Of  this  last  fact,  however,  having 
no  evidence  but  an  ancient  impression,  I  shall  not  affirm  it.  But 
whether  so  or  not,  no  agency  of  accident  appears  in  the  case. 
This  error  of  fact,  however,  whether  yours  or  mine,  is  of  little 


consequence  to  the  public.     But  truth  being  as  cheap  as  error,  it 
is  as  well  to  rectify  it  for  our  own  satisfaction. 

I  have  had  a  fever  of  about  three  weeks,  during  the  last  and 
preceding  month,  from  which  I  am  entirely  recovered  except  as 
to  strength. 


MoNTioELLO,  September  8,  1823. 

Deab  Sik, — Your  favor  of  July  28th,  from  Avon,  came  to 
hand  on  the  10th  of  August,  and  I  have  delayed  answering  it 
on  the  presumption  of  your  continued  absence,  but  the  approach 
of  the  season  of  frost  in  that  region  has  probably  before  this 
time  turned  you  about  to  the  south.  I  readily  conceive  that  by 
the  time  of  your  return  to  Philadelphia,  you  will  have  had  trav- 
elling enough  for  the  present,  and  therefore  acquiesce  in  your 
proposition  to  give  us  the  next  season.  Your  own  convenience 
is  a  sufficient  reason,  and  an  auxiliary  one  is  that  we  shall  then 
have  more  for  you  to  see  and  approve.  By  that  time,  our  ro- 
tunda, (the  walls  of  which  will  be  finished  this  month)  will  have 
received  its  roof,  and  will  show  itself  externally  to  some  advan- 
tage. Its  columns  only  will  be  wanting,  as  they  must  await 
their  capitals  from  Italy.  We  have  just  received  from  thence, 
and  are  now  putting  up,  the  marble  capitals  of  the  buildings  we 
have  already  erected,  which  completes  our  whole  system,  except 
the  rotunda  and  its  adjacent  gymnasia.  All  are  now  ready  to 
receive  theii-  occupants,  and  should  the  legislature,  at  their  next 
session,  liberate  our  funds  as  is  hoped,  we  shall  ask  but  one  year 
more  to  procure  our  professors,  for  most  of  whom  we  must  go  to 
Europe.  In  your  substitution  of  Monticello  instead  of  your  an- 
nual visit  to  Black  Rock,  I  will  engage  you  equal  health,  and  a 
more  genial  and  pleasant  climate ;  but  instead  of  the  flitting, 
flirting,  and  gay  assemblage  of  that  place,  you  must  be  contented 
with  the  plain  and  sober  family  and  neighborly  society,  with  the 
assurance  that  you  shall  hear  no  wrangling  about  the  next  presi- 
dent, although  the  excitement  on  that  subject  will  then  be  at  its 


acme.  Numerous  have  been  the  attempts  to  entangle  me  in  thai 
imbroglio.  But  at  the  age  of  eighty,  I  seek  quiet  and  abjure 
contention.  I  read  but  a  single  newspaper,  Ritchie's  Enquirer, 
the  best  that  is  published  or  ever  has  been  published  in  America. 
You  should  read  it  also,  to  keep  yourself  au  fait  of  your  own 
State,  for  we  still  claim  you  as  belonging  to  us.  A  city  life  offers 
you  indeed  more  means  of  dissipating  time,  but  more  frequent, 
also,  and  more  painful  objects  of  vice  and  wretchedness.  New- 
York,  for  example,  like  London,  seems  to  be  a  Cloacina  of  all 
the  depravities  of  human  nature.  Philadelphia  doubtless  has  its 
share.  Here,  on  the  contrary,  crime  is  scarcely  heard  of,  breaches 
of  order  rare,  and  our  societies,  if  not  refined,  are  rational,  moral, 
and  affectionate  at  least.  Our  only  blot  is  becoming  less  offens- 
ive by  the  great  improvement  in  the  condition  and  civilization 
of  that  race,  who  can  now  more  advantageously  compare  their 
situation  with  that  of  the  laborers  of  Europe.  Still  it  is  a  hid- 
eous blot,  as  well  from  the  heteromorph  peculiarities  of  the  race, 
as  that,  with  them,  physical  compulsion  to  action  must  be  sub- 
stituted for  the  moral  necessity  which  constrains  the  free  laborers 
to  work  equally  hard.  We  feel  and  deplore  it  morally  and  polit- 
ically, and  we  look  without  entire  despair  to  some  redeeming 
means  not  yet  specifically  foreseen.  I  am  happy  in  believing 
that  the  conviction  of  the  necessity  of  removing  this  evil  gains 
ground  with  time.  Their  emigration  to  the  westward  lightens 
the  difficulty  by  dividing  it,  and  renders  it  more  practicable  on 
the  whole.  And  the  neighborhood  of  a  government  of  their 
color  promises  a  more  accessible  asylum  than  that  from  whence 
they  came.     Ever  and  affectionately  yours. 

TO    MB.    THOMAS    EARLE. 

MoNTiCELLO,  September  24,  1823. 

SiH, — Your  letter  of  August  28th,  with  the  pamphlet  ac- 
sompanying  it,  was  not  received  until  the  18th  instant. 

That  our  Creator  made  the  earth  for  the  use  of  the  living  and 


not  of  the  dead  ;  that  those  who  exist  not  can  have  no  use  nor 
right  in  it,  no  authority  or  power  over  it ;  that  one  generation 
of  men  cannot  foreclose  or  burthen  its  use  to  another,  which 
comes  to  it  in  its  own  right  and  by  the  same  divine  beneficence  ; 
that  a  preceding  generation  cannot  bind  a  succeeding  one  by  its 
laws  or  contracts  ;  these  deriving  their  obligation  from  the  will 
of  the  existing  majority,  and  that  majority  being  removed  by 
death,  another  comes  in  its  place  with  a  will  equally  free  to  make 
its  own  laws  and  contracts  ;  these  are  axioms  so  self-evident  that 
no  explanation  can  make  them  plainer  ;  for  he  is  not  to  be  reas- 
oned with  who  says  that  non-existence  can  control  existence,  or 
that  nothing  can  move  something.  They  are  axioms  also  preg- 
nant with  salutary  consequences.  The  laws  of  civil  society  in- 
deed for  the  encouragement  of  industry,  give  the  property  of  the 
parent  to  his  family  on  his  death,  and  in  most  civilized  countries 
permit  him  even  to  give  it,  by  testament,  to  whom  he  pleases. 
And  it  is  also  found  more  convenient  to  suffer  the  laws  of  our 
predecessors  to  stand  on  our  implied  assent,  as  if  positively  re- 
enacted,  until  the  existing  majority  positively  repeals  them.  But 
this  does  not  lessen  the  right  of  that  majority  to  repeal  whenever 
a  change  of  ch'cumstances  or  of  will  calls  for  it.  Habit  alone 
confounds  what  is  civil  practice  with  natural  right. 

On  the  merits  of  the  pamphlet  I  say  nothing  of  course  ;  having 
found  it  necessary  to  decline  giving  opinions  on  books  even 
when  desired.  For  the  functions  of  a  reviewer,  I  have  neither 
time,  talent,  nor  inclination,  and  I  trust  that  on  reflection  your 
indulgence  will  not  think  unreasonable  my  unwillingness  to  em- 
bark in  an  office  of  so  little  enticement.  With  my  thanks  for  the 
pamphlet,  be  pleased  to  accept  the  assurance  of  my  great  respect. 

TO    MB.     HUGH    P.    TATLOH. 

JIosTiOELLO,  October  4,  1 823. 

Sm, — You  must,  I  think,  have  somewhat  misunderstood  what 
[  may  have  said  to  you  as  to  manuscripts  in  my  possession  re- 


latmg  to  the  antiquities,  and  particularly  the  Indian  antiquities 
of  our  country.  The  only  manuscripts  I  now  possess  are  some 
folio  volumes,  two  of  these  are  the  proceedings  of  the  Virginia 
Company  in  England  ;  the  remaining  four  are  of  the  Records  of 
the  Council  of  Virginia  from  1622  to  1700.  The  account  of 
the  two  first  volumes  you  will  see  in  the  preface  to  Stith's  His- 
tory of  Virginia.  They  contain  the  records  of  the  Virginia  com- 
pany, copied  from  the  originals,  under  the  eye,  if  I  recollect 
rightly,  of  the  Earl  of  Southampton,  a  member  of  the  company, 
bought  at  the  sale  of  his  library  by  Doctor  Byrd,  of  Westover, 
and  sold  with  that  library  to  Isaac  Zane.  These  volumes  hap- 
pened at  the  time  of  the  sale,  to  have  been  borrowed  by  Colonel 
R.  Bland,  whose  library  I  bought,  and  with  this,  they  were  sent 
to  me.  I  gave  notice  of  it  to  Mr.  Zane,  but  he  never  reclaimed 
them.  I  shall  deposit  them  in  the  library  of  the  university, 
where  they  will  be  most  likely  to  be  preserved  with  care.  The 
other  four  volumes,  I  am  confident,  are  the  original  office  records 
3f  the  council.  My  conjectures  are  that  when  Sr.  John  Ran- 
dolph was  about  to  begin  the  History  of  Virginia  which  he  meant 
to  write,  he  borrowed  these  volumes  from  the  council  office,  to 
collect  from  them  materials  for  his  work.  He  died  before  he 
had  made  any  progress  in  that  work,  and  they  remained  in  his 
library,  probably  unobserved,  during  the  whole  life  of  the  late 
Peyton  Randolph,  his  son ;  from  his  executors  I  purchased  his 
library  in  a  lump,  and  these  volumes  were  sent  to  me  as  a  part 
of  it.  I  found  the  leaves  so  rotten  as  often  to  crumble  into  dust 
on  being  handled  ;  I  bound  them,  therefore,  together,  that  they 
might  not  be  unnecessarily  opened,  and  have  thus  preserved  them 
forty-seven  years.  If  my  conjectures  are  right,  they  must  have 
been  out  of  the  public  office  about  eighty  years.  I  shall  deposit 
them  also  with  the  others  in  the  same  library  of  the  university, 
where  they  will  be  safer  from  injury  than  in  a  public  office.  I 
have  promised,  however,  to  trust  them  to  Mr.  Hennig,  if  he  will 
'  copy  and  publish  them  when  he  shall  h?ve  finished  his  collec- 
tion of  the  laws.  For  this  he  is  peculiarly  qualified,  as  well  by 
his  diligence  as  by  his  familiarity  with  our  ancient  manuscript 


characters,  a  familiarity  very  necessary  for  decyphering  these 

I  agree  with  you  that  it  is  the  duty  of  every  good  citizen  to 
use  all  the  opportunities  which  occur  to  him,  for  preserving  doc- 
uments relating  to  the  history  of  our  country.  That  I  have  not 
been  remiss  in  this  while  I  had  youth,  health,  and  opportunity, 
is  proved  otherwise,  as  well  as  by  the  materials  I  furnished  to- 
wards Mr.  Hening's  invaluable  collection  of  the  laws  of  our  coun- 
try ;  but  there  is  a  time,  and  that  time  is  come  with  me,  when 
these  duties  are  no  more,  when  age  and  the  wane  of  mind  and 
memory,  and  the  feebleness  of  the  powers  of  life  pass  them  over 
as  a  legacy  to  younger  hands.  I  write  now  slowly,  laboriously, 
painfully.  I  am  obliged,  therefore,  to  decline  all  correspondence 
which  some  moral  duty  does  not  urgently  call  on  me  to  answer. 
•I  always  trust  that  those  who  write  them  will  read  their  answer 
in  my  age  and  silence,  and  see  in  these  a  manifestation  that  I  am 
done  with' writing  letters.  I  am  sorry,  therefore,  that  I  am  not 
able  to  give  any  aid  to  the  work  you  contemplate,  other  than  my 
best  wishes  for  its  success,  and  to  these  I  add  the  assurance  of 
of  my  great  respect. 


MoNTicELLo,  October  12,  1823. 

Dear  Sir, — I  do  not  write  with  the  ease  which  your  letter  of 
September  the  18th  supposes.  Crippled  wrists  and  fingers  make 
writing  slow  and  laborious.  But  while  writing  to  you,  I  lose 
the  sense  of  these  things  in  the  recollection  of  ancient  times, 
when  youth  and  health  made  happiness  out  of  everything.  I 
forget  for  a  while  the  hoary  winter  of  age,  when  we  can  think 
of  nothing  but  how  to  keep  ourselves  warm,  and  how  to  get  rid 
of  our  heavy  hours  until  the  friendly  hand  of  death  shall  rid  us 
of  all  at  once.  Against  this  tedium  vitm,  however,  I  am  fortu- 
nately mounted  on  a  hobby,  which,  indeed,  I  should  have  better 
managed  some  thirty  or  forty  years  ago  j  but  whose  easy  amble 


is  still  sufficient  to  give  exercise  and  amusement  to  an  octogeuary 
rider.  This  is  the  establishment  of  a  University,  on  a  scale  more 
comprehensive,  and  in  a  country  more  healthy  and  central  than 
our  old  William  and  Mary,  which  these  obstacles  have  long  kept 
in  a  state  of  languor  and  inefficiency.  But  the  tardiness  with 
with  such  works  proceed,  may  render  it  doubtful  whether  I  shall 
live  to  see  it  go  into  action. 

Putting  aside  these  things,  however,  for  the  present,  I  write 
this  letter  as  due  to  a  friendship  coeval  with  our  government, 
and  now  attempted  to  be  poisoned,  when  too  late  in  life  to  be 
replaced  by  new  affections.  I  had  for  sometime  observed  in  the 
public  papers,  dark  hints  and  mysterious  inuendoes  of  a  coiTes- 
pondence  of  yours  with  a  friend,  to  whom  you  had  opened  your 
bosom  without  reserve,  and  which  was  to  be  made  public  by 
that  friend  or  his  representative.  And  now  it  is  said  to  be  ac- 
tually published.  It  has  not  yet  reached  us,  but  extracts  have 
been  given,  and  such  as  seemed  most  likely  to  draw  a  curtain  of 
separation  between  you  and  myself.  Were  there  no  other  motive 
than  that  of  indignation  against  the  author  of  this  outrage  on 
private  confidence,  whose  shaft  seems  to  have  been  aimed  at 
yourself  more  particularly,  this  would  make  it  the  duty  of  every 
honorable  mind  to  disappoint  that  aim,  by  opposing  to  its  im- 
pression a  seven-fold  shield  of  apathy  and  insensibility.  With 
me,  however,  no  such  armor  is  needed.  Tiie  circumstances  of 
the  times  in  which  we  have  happened  to  live,  and  the  partiality 
of  our  friends  at  a  particular  period,  placed  us  in  a  state  of  ap- 
parent opposition,  which  some  might  suppose  to  be  personal  > 
also  ;  and  there  might  not  be  wanting  those  who  wished  to  make 
it  so,  by  filling  our  ears  with  malignant  falsehoods,  by  dressing 
up  hideous  phantoms  of  their  own  creation,  presenting  them  to 
you  under  my  name,  to  me  under  yours,  and  endeavoring  to  in- 
stil into  our  minds  things  concerning  each  other  the  most  desti- 
tute of  truth.  And  if  there  had  been,  at  any  time,  a  moment 
Tvhen  we  were  off  olir  guard,  and  in  a  temper  to  let  the  whispers 
of  these  people  make  us  forget  what  we  had  known  of  each 
other  for  so  many  years,  and  years  of  so  much  trial,  yet  all  men 


who  have  attended  to  the  workings  of  the  human  mind,  who 
have  seen  the  false  colors  under  which  passion  sometimes  dresses 
the  actions  and  motives  of  others,  have  seen  also  those  passions 
subsiding  with  time  and  reflection,  dissipating  like  mists  before 
the  rising  sun,  and  restoring  to  us  the  sight  of  all  things  in  their 
true  shape  and  colors.  It  would  be  strange  indeed,  if,  at  our 
years,  we  were  to  go  baqk  an  age  to  hunt  up  imaginary  or  for- 
gotten facts,  to  disturb  the  repose  of  affections  so  sweetening  to 
the  evening  of  our  lives.  Be  assured,  my  dear  Sir,  that  I  am 
incapable  of  receiving  the  slightest  impression  from  the  efibrt 
now  made  to  plant  thorns  on  the  pillow  of  age,  worth  and  wis- 
dom, and  to  sow  tares  between  friends  who  have  been  such  for 
near  half  a  century.  Beseeching  you  then,  not  to  suffer  your 
mind  to  be  disquieted  by  this  wicked  attempt  to  poison  its  peace, 
and  praying  you  to  throw  it  by  among  the  things  which  have 
never  happened,  I  add  sincere  assurances  of  my  unabated  and 
constant  attachment,  friendship  and  respect. 


JIi.xTiCKLLO,  October  24,  1823. 

Deak  Sir, — The  question  presented  by  the  letters  you  have 
sent  me,  is  the  most  momentous  which  has  ever  been  ofi'ered  to 
my  contemplation  since  that  of  Independence.  That  made  us  a 
nation,  this  sets  our  compass  and  points  the  course  which  we  are 
to  steer  through  the  ocean  of  time  opening  on  us.  And  never 
could  we  embark  on  it  under  circumstances  more  auspicious. 
Our  first  and  fundamental  maxim  should  be,  never  to  entangle 
ourselves  in  the  broils  of  Europe.  Our  second,  never  to  sulfer 
Europe  to  intermeddle  with  cis-Atlantic  affairs.  America,  North 
and  South,  has  a  set  of  interests  distinct  from  those  of  Eui-ope, 
and  peculiarly  her  own.  She  should  therefore  have  a  system  of 
her  own,  separate  and  apart  from  that  of  Europe.  Wliile  the  last 
is  laboring  to  become  the  domicil  of  despotism,  our  endeavor 
should  surely  be,  to  make  our  hemisphere  that  of  freedom.     One 


nation,  most  of  all,  could  disturb  us  in  this  pursuit ;  she  now 
offers  to  lead,  aid,  and  accompany  us  in  it.  By  acceding  to  her 
proposition,  we  detach  her  from  the  bands,  bring  her  mighty 
weight  into  the  scale  of  free  government,  and  emancipate  a  coe- 
tinent  at  one  stroke,  which  might  otherwise  linger  long  in  doubt 
and  difficulty.  Great  Britain  is  the  nation  which  can  do  us  the 
most  harm  of  any  one,  or  all  on  earth  ;  and  with  her  on  our  side 
we  need  not  fear  the  whole  world.  With  her  then,  we  should 
most  sedulously  cherish  a  cordial  friendship  ;  and  nothing  would 
tend  more  to  knit  our  affections  than  to  be  fighting  once  more, 
side  by  side,  in  the  same  cause.  Not  that  I  would  purchase  even 
her  amity  at  the  price  of  taking  part  in  her  wars.  But  the  war 
in  which  the  present  proposition  might  engage  us,  should  that 
be  its  consequence,  is  not  her  war,  but  ours.  Its  object  is  to  in- 
troduce and  establish  the  American  system,  of  keeping  out  of 
our  land  all  foreign  powers,  of  never  permitting  those  of  Europe 
to  intermeddle  with  the  affairs  of  our  nations.  It  is  to  maintain 
our  own  principle,  not  to  depart  from  it.  And  if,  to  facilitate 
this,  we  can  effect  a  division  in  the  body  of  the  European  powers, 
and  draw  over  to  our  side  its  most  powerful  member,  surely  we 
should  do  it.  But  I  am  clearly  of  Mr.  Canning's  opinion,  that 
it  will  prevent  instead  of  provoking  war.  With  Great  Britain 
withdrawn  from  their  scale  and  shifted  into  that  of  our  two  con- 
tinents, all  Europe  combined  would  not  undertake  such  a  war. 
For  how  would  they  propose  to  get  at  either  enemy  without  su- 
perior fleets  ?  Nor  is  the  occasion  to  be  slighted  which  this 
proposition  offers,  of  declaring  our  protest  against  the  atrocious 
violations  of  the  rights  of  nations,  by  the  interference  of  any  one 
in  the  internal  affairs  of  another,  so  flagitiously  begun  by  Bona- 
parte, and  now  continued  by  the  equally  lawless  Alliance,  calling 
itself  Holy. 

But  we  have  first  to  ask  ourselves  a  question.  Do  we  wish  to 
acquire  to  our  own  confederacy  any  one  or  more  of  the  Spanish 
provinces  ?  I  candidly  confess,  that  I  have  ever  looked  on  Cuba 
as  the  most  interesting  addition  which  could  ever  be  made  to  our 
system  of  States.     The  control  which,  with  Florida  Point,  this 


island  would  give  us  over  the  Gulf  of  Mexico,  and  the  countries 
and  isthmus  bordering  on  it,  as  well  as  all  those  whose  waters 
flow  into  it,  would  fill  up  the  measure  of  our  political  well-being. 
Yet,  as  I  am  sensible  that  this  can  never  be  obtained,  even  with 
her  own  consent,  but  by  war  ;  and  its  independence,  which  is  our 
second  interest,  (and  especially  its  independence  of  England,)  can 
be  secured  without  it,  I  have  no  hesitation  in  abandoning  my  first 
wish  to  future  chances,  and  accepting  its  independence,  with 
peace  and  the  friendship  of  England,  rather  than  its  association, 
at  the  expense  of  war  and  her  enmity. 

I  could  honestly,  therefore,  join  in  the  declaration  proposed, 
that  we  aim  not  at  the  acquisition  of  any  of  those  possessions, 
that  we  will  not  stand  in  the  way  of  any  amicable  arrangement 
between  them  and  the  mother  country ;  but  that  we  will  oppose, 
with  all  our  means,  the  forcible  interposition  of  any  other  power, 
as  auxiliary,  stipendiary,  or  under  any  other  form  or  pretext,  and 
most  especially,  their  transfer  to  any  power  by  conquest,  cession, 
or  acquisition  in  any  other  way.  I  should  think  it,  therefore, 
advisable,  that  the  Executive  should  encourage  the  British  gov- 
ernment to  a  continuance  in  the  dispositions  expressed  in  these 
letters,  by  an  assurance  of  his  concurrence  with  them  as  far  as  his 
authority  goes  ;  and  that  as  it  may  lead  to  war,  the  declaration  of 
which  requires  an  act  of  Congress,  the  case  shall  be  laid  before 
them  for  consideration  at  their  first  meeting,  and  under  the  rea- 
sonable aspect  in  which  it  is  seen  by  himself. 

I  have  been  so  long  weaned  from  political  subjects,  and  have 
so  long  ceased  to  take  any  interest  in  them,  that  I  am  sensible  I 
am  not  qualified  to  offer  opinions  on  them  worthy  of  any  atten- 
tion. But  the  question  now  proposed  involves  consequences  so 
lasting,  and  efiects  so  decisive  of  our  future  destinies,  as  to  re- 
kindle all  the  interest  I  have  heretofore  felt  on  such  occasions, 
and  to  induce  me  to  the  hazard  of  opinions,  which  will  prove 
only  my  wish  to  contribute  still  my  mite  towards  anything  which 
may  be  useful  to  our  country.  And  praying  you  to  accept  it  at 
only  what  it  is  worth,  I  add  the  assurance  of  my  constant  and 
affectionate  friendship  and  respect. 


TO    M.    COR  AT. 

MoNTicELLO,  October  31,  1823. 

Dear  Sir, — ^Your  favor  of  July  10th  is  lately  received.  I  rec* 
ollect  with  pleasure  the  short  opportunity  of  acquaintance  with 
you  afforded  me  in  Paris,  by  the  kindness  of  Mr.  Paradise,  and 
the  fine  editions  <.if  the  classical  writers  of  Greece  which  have 
been  announced  by  you  from  time  to  time,  have  never  permitted 
me  to  lose  the  recollection.  Until  those  of  Aristotle's  Ethics,  and 
the  Strategicos  of  Onesander,  with  which  you  have  now  favored 
me,  and  for  which  I  pray  you  to  accept  my  thanks,  I  had  seen 
only  your  Lives  of  Plutarch.  These  I  had  read,  and  profited 
much  by  your  valuable  Scholia,  and  the  aid  of  a  few  words  from 
a  modern  Greek  dictionary  would,  I  believe,  have  enabled  me  to 
read  your  patriotic  addresses  to  your  countrymen. 

You  have  certainly  begun  at  the  right  end  towards  preparing 
them  for  the  great  object  they  are  now  contending  for,  by  im- 
proving their  minds  and  qualifying  them  for  self-government. 
For  this  they  will  owe  you  lasting  honors.  Nothing  is  more 
likely  to  forward  this  object  than  a  study  of  the  fine  models  of 
science  left  by  their  ancestors,  to  whom  we  also  are  all  indebted 
for  the  lights  which  originally  led  ourselves  out  of  Gothic  dark- 

No  people  sympathize  more  feelingly  than  ours  with  the  suffer- 
ings of  your  countrymen,  none  offer  more  sincere  and  ardent 
prayers  to  heaven  for  their  success.  And  nothing  indeed  but  the 
fundamental  principle  of  our  government,  never  to  entangle  us 
with  the  broils  of  Europe,  could  restrain  our  generous  youth  from 
taking  some  part  in  this  holy  cause.  Possessing  ourselves  the 
combined  blessing  of  liberty  and  order,  we  wish  the  same  to 
other  countries,  and  to  none  more  than  yours,  which,  the  first  of 
civilized  nations,  presented  examples  of  what  man  should  be. 
Not,  indeed,  that  the  forms  of  government  adapted  to  their  age 
and  country  are  practicable  or  to  be  imitated  in  our  day,  although 
prejudices  in  their  favor  would  be  natural  enough  to  your  people. 
The  circumstances  of  the  world  are  too  much  changed  for  that. 


The  government  of  Athens,  for  example,  was  that  of  the  people 
of  one  city  making  laws  for  the  whole  country  subjected  to 
them.  That  of  Lacedaemon  was  the  rule  of  military  monks 
over  the  laboring  class  of  the  people,  reduced  to  abject  slavery. 
These  are  not  the  doctrines  of  the  present  age.  The  equal  rights 
of  man,  and  the  happiness  of  every  individual,  are  now  acknowl- 
edged to  be  the  only  legitimate  objects  of  government.  Modern 
times  have  the  signal  advantage,  too,  of  having  discovered  the 
only  device  by  which  these  rights  can  be  secured,  to-wit :  gov- 
ernment by  the  people,  acting  not  in  person,  but  by  representa- 
tives chosen  by  themselves,  that  is  to  say,  by  every  man  of  ripe 
years  and  sane  mind,  who  either  contributes  by  his  purse  or  per- 
son to  the  support  of  his  country.  The  small  and  imperfect  mix- 
ture of  representative  government  in  England,  impeded  as  it  is  by 
other  branches,  aristocratical  and  hereditary,  shows  yet  the  power 
of  the  representative  principle  towards  improving  the  condition 
of  man.  With  us,  all  the  branches  of  the  government  are  elective 
by'  the  people  themselves,  except  the  Judiciary,  of  whose  science 
and  qualifications  they  are  not  competent  judges.  Yet,  even  in 
that  department,  we  call  in  a  jury  of  the  people  to  decide  all  con- 
troverted matters  of  fact,  because  to  that  investigation  they  are 
entirely  competent,  leaving  thus  as  little  as  possible,  merely  the 
law  of  the  case,  to  the  decision  of  the  judges.  And  true  it  is 
that  the  people,  especially  when  moderately  instructed,  are  the 
only  safe,  because  the  only  honest,  depositories  of  the  public 
rights,  and  should  therefore  be  introduced  into  the  administra- 
tion of  them  in  every  function  to  which  they  are  sufiicient ;  they 
will  err  sometimes  and  accidentally,  but  never  designedly,  and 
with  a  systematic  and  persevering  purpose  of  overthrowing  the 
free  principles  of  the  government.  Hereditary  bodies,  on  the 
contrary,  always  existing,  always  on  the  watch  for  their  own 
aggrandizement,  profit  of  every  opportunity  of  advancing  the 
privileges  of  their  order,  and  encroaching  on  the  rights  of  the 

The  public  papers  tell  us  that  your  nation  has  established  a 
government  of  some  kind  without  informing  us  what  it  is.     This 


is  certainly  necessary  for  the  direction  of  the  war,  but  I  presume 
it  is  intended  to  be  temporary  only,  as  a  permanent  constitution 
must  be  the  work  of  quiet,  leisure,  much  inquiry,  and  great  de- 
liberation. The  extent  of  our  country  was  so  great,  and  its 
former  division  into  distinct  States  so  established,  that  ive  thought 
it  better  to  confederate  as  to  foreign  affairs  only.  Every  State 
retained  its  self-government  in  domestic  matters,  as  better  quali- 
fied to  direct  them  to  the  good  and  satisfaction  of  their  citizens, 
than  a  general  government -so  distant  from  its  remoter  citizens, 
and  so  little  familiar  with  the  local  peculiarities  of  the  different 
parts.  But  I  presume  that  the  extent  of  country  with  you,  which 
may  liberate  itself  from  the  Turks,  is  not  too  large  to  be  asso- 
ciated under  a  single  government,  and  that  the  particular  consti- 
tutions of  our  several  States,  therefore,  and  not  that  of  our  federal 
government,  will  furnish  the  basis  best  adapted  to  your  situation. 
There  are  now  twenty-four  of  these  distinct  States,  none  smaller 
perhaps  than  your  Morea,  several  larger  than  all  Greece.  Each 
of  these  has  a  constitution  framed  by  itself  and  for  itself,  but  mil- 
itating in  nothing  with  the  powers  of  the  general  government  in 
its  appropriate  department  of  war  and  foreign  affairs.  These 
constitutions  being  in  print  and  in  every  hand,  I  shall  only  make 
brief  observations  on  them,  and  on  those  provisions  particularly 
which  have  not  fulfilled  expectations,  or  which,  being  varied  in 
different  States,  leave  a  choice  to  be  made  of  that  which  is  best. 
You  will  find  much  good  in  all  of  them,  and  no  one  which 
would  be  approved  in  all  its  parts.  Such  indeed  are  the  differ- 
ent circumstances,  prejudices,  and  habits  of  different  nations,  that 
the  constitution  of  no  one  would  be  reconcilable  to  any  other  in 
every  point.  A  judicious  selection  of  the  parts  of  each  suitable 
to  any  other,  is  all  which  prudence  should  attempt ;  thi-s«will  ap- 
pear from  a  review  of  some  parts  of  our  constitutions. 

Our  executives  are  elected  by  the  people  for  terms  of  one,  two, 
three,  or  four  years,  under  the  names  of  governors  or  presidents, 
and  are  reeligible  a  second  time,  or  after  a  certain  term,  if  ap- 
proved by  the  people.  May  your  Ethnarch  be  elective  also  ?  or 
does  your  position  among  the  warrnig  powers  of  Europe  need  an 


office  more  permanent,  and  a  leader  more  stable  ?  Sureljr  yon 
will  make  him  single.  For  if  experience  has  ever  taught  a  truth, 
it  is  that  a  plurality  in  the  supreme  executive  will  forever  split 
into  discordant  factions,  distract  the  nation,  annihilate  its  ener- 
gies, and  force  the  nation  to  rally  under  a  single  head,  generally 
an  usurper.  We  have,  I  think,  fallen  on  the  happiest  of  all 
modes  of  constituting  the  executive,  that  of  easing  and  aiding 
our  President,  by  permitting  him  to  choose  Secretaries  of  State, 
of  finance,  of  war,  and  of  the  navy,  with  whom  he  may  advise, 
either  separately  or  all  together,  and  remedy  their  divisions  by 
adopting  or  controling  their  opinions  at  his  discretion  ;  this  saves 
the  nation  from  the  evils  of  a  divided  will,  and  secures  to  it  a 
steady  march  in  the  systematic  course  which  the  president  may 
have  adopted  for  that  of  his  administration. 

Our  legislatures  are  composed  of  two  houses,  the  senate  and 
representatives,  elected  in  different  modes,  and  for  different  pe- 
riods, and  in  some  States,  with  a  qualified  veto  in  the  executive 
chief.  But  to  avoid  all  temptation  to  superior  pretensions  of  the 
one  over  the  other  house,  and  the  possibility  of  either  erecting 
itself  into  a  privileged  order,  might  it  not  be  better  to  choose  at 
the  same  time  and  in  the  same  mode,  a  body  sufficiently  numer- 
ous to  be  divided  by  lot  into  two  separate  houses,  acting  as  inde- 
pendently as  the  two  houses  in  England,  or  in  our  governments, 
and  to  shuffle  their  names  together  and  re-distribute  them  by  lot, 
once  a  week  for  a  fortnight  ?  This  would  equally  give  the 
benefit  of  time  and  separate  deliberation,  guard  against  an  abso- 
lute passage  by  acclamation,  derange  cabals,  intrigues,  and  the 
count  of  noses,  disarm  the  ascendency  which  a  popular  dem- 
agogue might  at  anytime  obtain  over  either  house,  and  render 
impossil)le  all  disputes  between  the  two  houses,  which  often  foim 
such  obstacles  to  business. 

Our  different  States  have  differently  modified  their  several  ju- 
diciaries as  to  the  tenure  of  office.  Some  appoint  their  judges 
for  a  given  term  of  time  ;  some  continue  them  during  good  be- 
havior, and  that  to  be  determined  on  by  the  concurring  vote  of 
two-thirds  of  each  legislative  house.     In  England  they  are  re- 

VOL.  VII.  21 


movable  by  a  majority  only  of  each  house.  The  last  is  a  prac- 
ticable remedy ;  the  second  is  not.  The  combination  of  the 
friends  and  associates  of  the  accused,  the  action  of  personal  and 
party  passions,  and  the  sympathies  of  the  human  heart,  will  for- 
ever find  means  of  influencing  one-third  of  either  the  one  or  ihe 
other  house,  will  thus  secure  their  impunity,  and  establish  them 
in  fact  for  life.  The  first  remedy  is  the  best,  that  of  appointing 
for  a  term  of  years  only,  with  a  capacity  of  re-appointment  if 
their  conduct  has  been  approved.  At  the  establishment  of  our 
constitutions,  the  judiciary  bodies  were  supposed  to  be  the  most 
helpless  and  harmless  members  of  the  government.  Experience, 
however,  soon  showed  in  what  way  they  were  to  become  the 
most  dangerous  ;  that  the  insufiiciency  of  the  means  provided  for 
their  removal  gave  them  a  freehold  and  irresponsibility  in  office  ; 
that  their  decisions,  seeming  to  concern  individual  suitors  only, 
pass  silent  and  unheeded  by  the  public  at  large  ;  that  these  de- 
cisions, nevertheless,  become  law  by  precedent,  sapping,  by  little 
and  little,  the  foundations  of  the  constitution,  and  working  its 
change  by  construction,  before  any  one  has  perceived  that  that 
invisible  and  helpless  worm  has  been  busily  employed  in  con- 
suming its  substance.  In  truth,  man  is  not  made  to  be  trusted 
for  life,  if  secured  against  all  liability  to  account. 

The  constitutions  of  some  of  our  States  have  made  it  a  duty 
■  of  their  government  to  provide  with  due  care  for  the  public  edu- 
cation. This  we  divide  into  three  grades.  1.  Primary  schools, 
in  which  are  taught  reading,  writing,  and  common  arithmetic,  to 
every  infant  of  the  State,  male  and  female.  2.  Intermediate 
schools,  in  which  an  education  is  given  proper  for  artificers  and 
the  middle  vocations  of  life ;  in  grammar,  for  example,  general 
history,  logarithms,  arithmetic,  plain  trigonometry,  mensuration, 
the  use  of  the  globes,  navigation,  the  mechanical  principles,  the 
elements  of  natural  philosophy,  and,  as  a  preparation  for  the  Uni- 
versity, the  Greek  and  Latin  languages.  3.  An  University,  in 
which  these  and  all  other  useful  sciences  shall  be  taught  in  their 
highest  degree ;  the  expenses  of  these  institutions  are  defrayed 
partly  by  the  public,  and  partly  by  the  individuals  profiting  of  them 


But,  whatever  be  the  constitution,  great  care  must  be  taken  to 
provide  a  mode  of  amendment,  Avhen  experience  or  change  of 
circumstances  shall  have  manifested  that  any  part  of  it  is  una- 
adapted  to  the  good  of  the  nation.  In  some  of  our  States  it  re- 
quii'es  a  new  authority  from  the  whole  people,  acting  by  their 
representatives,  chosen  for  this  express  purpose,  and  assembled 
in  convention.  This  is  found  too  difficult  for  remedying  the  im- 
perfections which  experience  develops  from  time  to  time  in  an 
organization  of  the  first  impression.  A  greater  facility  of  amend- 
ment is  certainly  requisite  to  maintain  it  in  a  course  of  action  ac- 
commodated to  the  times  and  changes  through  which  we  are 
ever  passing.  In  England  the  constitution  may  be  altered  by  a 
single  act  of  the  legislature,  which  amounts  to  the  having  no 
constitution  at  all.  In  some  of  our  States,  an  act  passed  by  two 
different  legislatures,  chosen  by  the  people,  at  different  and  suc- 
cessive elections,  is  sufficient  to  make  a  change  in  the  constitu- 
tion. As  this  mode  may  be  rendered  more  or  less  easy,  by  re- 
quiring the  approbation  of  fewer  or  more  successive  legislatures, 
according  to  the  degree  of  difficulty  thought  sufficient,  and  yet 
safe,  it  is  evidently  the  best  principle  which  can  be  adopted  for 
constitutional  amendments. 

I  have  stated  that  the  constitutions  of  our  several  States  vary 
more  or  less  in  some  particulars.  But  there  are  certain  principles 
in  which  all  agree,  and  which  all  cherish  as  vitally  essential  to 
the  protection  of  the  life,  liberty,  property,  and  safety  of  the 

1.  Freedom  of  religion,  restricted  only  from  acts  of  trespass  on 
that  of  others. 

2.  Freedom  of  person,  s.icuring  every  one  from  imprisonment, 
or  other  bodily  restraint,  but  by  the  laws  of  the  land.  This  is 
effected  by  the  well-known  law  of  habeas  corpus. 

3.  Trial  by  jury,  the  best  of  all  safe-guards  for  the  person,  the 
property,  and  the  fame  of  every  individual. 

4.  The  exclusive  right  of  legislation  and  taxation  in  the  repre- 
sentatives of  the  people. 

5.  Freedom  of  the  press,  subject  only  to  liability  for  personal 

324  JEyFERSON'S    WOEK.S. 

injuries.  This  formidable  censor  of  the  public  functionaries,  by 
arraigning  them  at  the  tribunal  of  public  opinion,  produces  reform 
peaceably,  which  must  otherwise  be  done  by  revolution.  It  is 
also  the  best  instrument  for  enlightening  the  mind  of  man,  and 
improving  him  as  a  rational,  moral,  and  social  being.  , 

I  have  thus,  dear  Sir,  according  to  your  request,  given  you 
some  thoughts  on  the  subject  of  national  government.  They  are 
the  result  of  the  observations  and  reflections  of  an  octogenary, 
who  has  passed  fifty  years  of  trial  and  trouble  in  the  various 
grades  of  his  country's  service.  They  are  yet  but  outlines  which 
you  will  better  fill  up,  and  accommodate  to  the  habits  and  cir- 
cumstances of  your  countrymen.  Should  they  furnish  a  single 
idea  which  may  be  useful  to  them,  I  shall  fancy  it  a  tribute  renr 
dered  to  the  manes  of  your  Homer,  your  Demosthenes,  and  the 
splendid  constellation  of  sages  and  heroes,  whose  blood  is  still 
flowing  in  your  viens,  and  whose  merits  are  still  resting,  as  a 
heavy  debt,  on  the  shoulders  of  the  living,  and  the  future  races 
of  men.  While  we  off"er  to  heaven  the  warmest  supplications 
for  the  restoration  of  your  countrymen  to  the  freedom  and  science 
of  their  ancestors,  permit  me  to  assure  yourself  of  the  cordial  es- 
teem and  high  respect  which  I  bear  and  cherish  towards  your- 
self personally. 


MoNTicisLLO,  November  4,  1823. 

Mt  Dear  Friend, — Two  dislocated  wrists  and  crippled  fingers 
have  rendered  writing  so  slow  and  kborious,  as  to  oblige  me  to 
withdraw  from  nearly  all  correspondence ;  not  however,  from 
yours,  while  I  can  make  a  stroke  with  a  pen.  We  have  gone 
through  too  many  trying  scenes  together,  to  forget  the  sympa- 
thies  and  afiections  they  nourished. 

Your-  trials  have  indeed  been  long  and  severe.  When  they 
will  end,  is  yet  unknown,  but  where  they  will  end,  cannot  be 
doubted.     Alliances,  Holy  or  Hellish,  may  be  formed,  and  retard 


the  epoch  of  deliverance,  may  swell  the  rivers  of  blood  which 
are  yet  to  flow,  but  their  own  will  close  the  scene,  and  leave  to 
mankind  the  right  of  self-government.  I  trust  that  Spain  will 
prove,  that  a  nation  cannot  be  conquered  which  determines  not 
to  be  so,  and  that  her  success  will  be  the  turning  of  the  tide  of 
liberty,  no  more  to  be  arrested  by  human  efforts.  Whether  the 
state  of  society  in  Europe  can  bear  a  republican  government,  I 
doubted,  you  know,  when  with  you,  and  I  do  now.  A  heredi- 
tary chief,  strictly  limited,  the  right  of  war  vested  in  the  legisla- 
tive body,  a  rigid  economy  of  the  public  contributions,  and  abso- 
lute interdiction  of  all  useless  expenses,  will  go  far  towards  keep- 
ing the  government  honest  and  unoppressive.  But  the  only  se- 
curity of  all,  is  in  a  free  press.  The  force  of  public  opinion  can- 
not be  resisted,  when  permitted  freely  to  be  expressed.  The 
agitation  it  produces  must  be  submitted  to.  It  is  necessary,  to 
keep  the  waters  pure. 

We  are  all,  for  example,  in  agitation  even  in  our  peaceful 
country.  For  in  peace  as  well  as  in  war,  the  mind  must  be  kept 
in  motion.  Who  is  to  be  the  next  President,  is  the  topic  here 
of  every  conversation.  My  opinion  on  that  subject  is  what  I  ex- 
pressed to  you  in  my  last  letter.  The  question  will  be  ultimate- 
ly reduced  to  the  northernmost  and  southernmost  candidate. 
The  former  will  get  every  federal  vote  in  the  Union,  and  many 
republicans ;  the  latter,  all  of  those  denominated  of  the  old  school ; 
for  you  are  not  to  believe  that  these  two  parties  are  amalgamat- 
ed, that  the  lion  and  the  lamb  are  lying  down  together.  The 
Hartford  Convention,  the  victory  of  Orleans,  the  peace  of  Ghent, 
prostrated  the  name  of  federalism.  Its  votaries  abandoned  it 
through  shame  and  mortification ;  and  now  call  themselves  re- 
republicans.  But  the  name  alone  is  changed,  the  principles  are 
the  same.  For  in  truth,  the  parties  of  Whig  and  Tory,  are  those 
of  nature.  They  exist  in  all  countries,  whether  called  by  these 
namds,  or  by  tliose  of  Aristocrats  and  Democrats,  Cote  Droite  and 
Cote  Gauche,  Ultras  and  Radicals,  Serviles,  and  Liberals.  The 
sickly,  weakly,  timid  man,  fears  the  people,  and  is  a  tory  by  na- 
ture.    The  healthy,  strong  and   bold,  cherishes   them,  and  is 


formed  a  whig  by  nature.  On  the  ecKpse  of  federalism  with  us, 
although  not  its  extinction,  its  leaders  got  up  the  Missouri  ques- 
tion, under  the  false  front  of  lessening  the  measure  of  slavery, 
but  with  the  real  view  of  producing  a  geographical  division  of 
parties,  which  might  insure  them  the  next  President.  The  peo- 
jile  of  the  north  went  blindfold  into  the  snare,  followed  their 
leaders  for  awhile  with  a  zeal  truly  moral  and  laudable,  until 
they  became  sensible  that  they  were  injuring  instead  of  aiding 
the  real  interests  of  the  slaves,  that  they  had  been  used  merely 
as  tools  for  electioneering  purposes ;  and  that  tric'k  of  hypocrisy 
then  fell  as  quickly  as  it  had  been  got  up.  To  that  is  now  suc- 
ceeding a  distinction,  which,  like  that  of  republican  and  federal, 
or  whig  and  tory,  being  equally  intermixed  through  every  State, 
threatens  none  of  those  geographical  schisms  which  go  immedi- 
ately to  a  separation.  The  line  of  division  now,  is  the  preserva- 
tion of  State  rights  as  reserved  in  the  constitution,  or  by  strained 
constructions  of  that  instrument,  to  merge  all  into  a  consolidated 
government.  The  tories  are  for  strengthening  the  executive  and 
general  Government ;  the  whigs  cherish  the  representative  branch, 
and  the  rights  reserved  by  the  States,  as  the  bulwark  against 
consolidation,  which  must  immediately  generate  monarchy.  And 
although  this  division  excites,  as  yet,  no  warmth,  yet  it  exists,  is 
well  understood,  and  will  be  a  principle  of  voting  at  the  ensuing 
election,  with  the  reflecting  men  of  both  parties. 

I  thank  you  much  for  the  two  books  you  were  so  kind  as  to 
send  me  by  Mr.  Gallatin.  Miss  Wright  had  before  favored  me 
with  the  first  edition  of  her  American  work  ;  but  her  "  Few  days 
in  Athens,"  was  entirely  new,  and  has  been  a  treat  to  me  of  the 
highest  order.  The  matter  and  manner  of  the  dialogue  is  strict- 
ly ancient ;  and  the  principles  of  the  sects  are  beautifully  and 
candidly  explained  and  contrasted ;  and  the  scenery  and  portrait- 
ure of  the  interlocutors  are  of  higher  finish  than  anything  in  that 
line  left  us  by  the  ancients ;  and  like  Ossian,  if  not  ancient,  it  is 
equal  to  the  best  morsels  of  antiquity.  I  augur,  from  this  in- 
stancej  that  Herculaneum  is  likely  to  furnish  better  specimens 


of  modern  than  of  ancient  genius ;  and  may  we  not  hope  more 
from  the  same  pen  ? 

After  much  sickness,  and  the  accident  of  a  broken  and  disa- 
bled arm,  I  am  again  in  tolerable  health,  but  extremely  debiUtat- 
ed,  so  as  to  be  scarcely  able  to  walk  into  my  garden.  The  hebe- 
tude of  age,  too,  and  extinguishment  of  interest  in  the  things 
around  me,  are  weaning  me  from  them,  and  dispose  me  with 
cheerfulness  to  resign  them  to  the  existing  generation,  satisfied 
that  the  daily  advance  of  science  will  enable  them  to  administer 
the  commonwealth  with  increased  wisdom.  You  have  still  many 
valuable  years  to  give  to  your  country,  and  with  my  prayers  that 
they  may  be  years  of  health  and  happiness,  and  especially  that 
they  may  see  the  establishment  of  the  principles  of  government 
which  you  have  cherished  through  life,  accept  the  assurance  of 
my  affectionate  and  constant  friendship  and  respect. 

TO    MK.    PATRICK    K.    RODGEBS. 

MoNTiCELLO,  January  29,  1824. 

Sir, — I  have  duly  received  your  favor  of  the  14th,  with  a  copy 
of  your  mathematical  principles  of  natural  philosophy,  which  I 
have  looked  into  with  all  the  attention  which  the  rust  of  age  and 
long  continued  avocations  of  a  very  different  character  permit  me 
to  exercise.  I  think  them  entirely  worthy  of  approbation,  both 
as  to  matter  and  method,  and  for  their  brevity  as  a  text  book  ; 
and  I  remark  particularly  the  clearness  and  precision  with  which 
the  propositions  are  enounced,  and,  in  the  demonstrations,  the 
easy  form  in  which  ideas  are  presented  to  the  mind,  so  as  to  be 
almost  intuitive  and  self-evident.  Of  Cavallo's  book,  which  you 
say  you  are  enjoined  to  teach,  I  have  no  knowledge,  having 
never  seen  it ;  but  its  character  is,  I  think,  that  of  mere  mediocri- 
ty ;  and,  from  my  personal  acquaintance  with  the  man,  I  should 
expect  no  more.  He  was  heavy,  capable  enough  of  understand- 
ing what  he  read,  and  with  memory  to  retain  it,  but  without  the' 
talent  of  digestion  or  improvement.     But,  indeed,  the  EnghsK 


generally  have  been  very  stationary  in  latter  times,  and  the 
French,  on  the  contrary,  so  active  and  successful,  particularly  in 
preparing  elementary  books,  in  the  mathematical  and  natural 
sciences,  that  those  who  wish  for  instruction,  without  caring  from 
what  nation  they  get  it,  resort  universally  to  the  latter  language. 
Besides  the  earlier  and  invaluable  works  of  Euler  and  Bezont, 
we  have  latterly  that  of  Lacroix  in  mathematics,  of  Legendre  in 
geometry,  Lavoisier  in  chemistry,  the  elementary  works  of  Haiiy 
in  physics,  Biot  in  experimental  physics  and  physical  astronomy, 
Dumeril  in  natural  history,  to  say  nothing  of  many  detached  essays 
of  Monge  and  others,  and  the  transcendent  labors  of  Laplace,  and 
I  am  informed,  by  a  highly  instructed  person  recently  from  Cam- 
bridge, that  the  mathmeticians  of  that  institution,  sensible  of  be- 
ing in  the  rear  of  those  of  the  continent,  and  ascribing  the  cause 
much  to  their  too  long-continued  preference  of  the  geometrical 
over  the  analyitcal  methods,  which  the  French  have  so  much  cul- 
tivated and  improved,  have  now  adopted  the  latter;  and  that 
they  have  also  given  up  the  fluxionary,  for  the  differential  calcu- 
lus. To  confine  a  school,  therefore,  to  the  obsolete  work  of 
Cavallo,  is  to  shut  out  all  advances  in  the  physical  sciences, 
which  have  been  so  great  in  latter  times.  I  am  glad,  however, 
to  learn  from  your  work,  and  to  expect  from  those  it  promised  in 
succession,  which  will  doubtless  be  of  equal  grade,  that  so  good 
a  course  of  instruction  is  pursued  in  William  and  Mary.  It  is 
very  long  since  I  have  had  any  infermation  of  the  state  of  edu- 
cation in  that  seminary,  to  which,  as  my  alma  mater,  my  at- 
tachment has  been  ever  sincere,  although  not  exclusive.  When 
that  college  was  located  at  the  middle  plantation  in  1693,  Charles 
city  was  a  frontier  county,  and  there  were  no  inhabitants  above 
the  falls  of  the  rivers,  sixty  miles  only  higher  up.  It  was,  there- 
fore, a  position,  nearly  central  to  the  population,  as  it  then  was; 
but  when  the  frontier  became  extended  to  the  Sandy  river,  three 
hundred  miles  west  of  Williamsburg,  the  public  convenience 
called,  first  for  a  removal  of  the  seat  of  government,  and  latterly, 
not  for  a  removal  of  the  college,  but,  for  the  establishment  of  a 
new  one,  in  a  more  central  and  healthy  situation ;  not  disturbing 


tlie  old  one  in  its  possessions  or  functions,  but  leaving  them  un- 
impaired for  the  benefit  of  those  to  whom  it  is  convenient.  And 
indeed,  I  do  not  foresee  that  the  number  of  its  students  is  likely 
to  be  much  affected  ;  because  I  presume  that,  at  present,  its  dis- 
tance and  autumnal  climate  prevent  its  receiving  many  students 
from  above  the  tide-waters,  and  especially  from  above  the  moun- 
tains. This  is,  therefore,  one  of  the  cases  where  the  lawyers  say 
there  is  damnum  absque  injuria  ;  and  they  instance,  as  in  point, 
the  settlement  of  a  new  schoolmaster  in  the  neighborhood  of  an 
old  one.  At  any  rate  it  is  one  of  those  cases  wherein  the  public 
interest  rightfully  prevails,  and  the  justice  of  which  will  be  yield- 
ed to  by  none,  I  am  sure,  with  more  dutiful  and  candid  acquies- 
cence than  the  enlightened  friends  of  our  ancient  and  venerable 
institution.  The  only  rivalship,  I  hope,  between  the  old  and  the 
new,  will  be  in  doing  the  most  good  possible  in  their  respective 
sections  of  country. 

As  the  diagrams  of  your  book  have  not  been  engraved,  I  re- 
turn you  the  MS.  of  them,  which  must  be  of  value  to  yourself. 
They  furnish  favorable  specimens  of  the  graphical  talent  of  your 
former  pupil.  Permit  me  to  add,  that  I  shall  always  be  ready 
and  happy  to  receive  with  particular  wecome  the  visit  of  which 
you  flatter  me  with  the  hope,  and  to  avail  myself  of  the  occasion 
of  assuring  you  personally  of  my  great  respect  and  esteem. 

TO    JOSEPH    C.    CABELL. 

MoNTicKLio,  February  3,  1824. 

Deak  Sik, — I  am  favored  with  your  two  letters  of  January  the 
26th  and  29th,  and  I  am  glad  that  yourself  and  the  friends  of 
the  University  are  so  well  satisfied,  that  the  provisos  amendatory 
of  the  University  Act  are  mere  nullities.  I  had  not  been  able  to 
put  out  of  my  head  the  Algebraical  equation,  which  was  among 
the  first  of  my  college  lessons,  that  a — a=0.  Yet  I  cheerfully 
arrange  myself  to  your  opinions.  I  did  not  suppose,  nor  do  I 
now  suppose  it  possible,  that  both  houses  of  the  legislature  should 


ever  consent,  for  an  additional  fifteen  thousand  dollars  of  revenue, 
to  set  all  the  Professors  and  students  of  the  University  adrift ; 
and  if  foreigners  will  have  the  same  confidence  which  we  have 
in  our  legislature,  no  harm  will  have  been  done  by  the  provisos. 

You  recollect  that  we  had  agreed  that  the  Visitors  who  are  of 
the  legislature  should  fix  on  a  certain  day  of  meeting,  after  the 
rising  of  the  Assembly,  to  put  into  immediate  motion  the  meas- 
ures which  this  act  was  expected  to  call  for.  You  will  of  course 
remind  the  Governor  that  a  re-appointment  of  Visitors  is  to  be 
made  on  the  day  following  Sunday,  the  29th  of  this  month ;  and 
as  he  is  to  appoint  the  day  of  their  first  meeting,  it  would  be  well 
to  recommend  to  him  that  which  our  brethren  there  shall  fix  on. 
It  may  be  designated  by  the  Governor  as  the  third,  fourth,  &c., 
day  after  the  rising  of  the  legislature,  which  will  give  it  certain- 
ty enough. 

You  ask  what  sum  would  be  desirable  for  the  purchase  of  books 
and  apparatus  ?  Certainly  the  largest  you  can  obtain.  Forty  or 
fifty  thousand  dollars  Would  enable  us  to  purchase  the  most  es- 
sential books  of  texts  and  reference  for  the  schools,  and  such  an 
apparatus  for  mathematics,  astronomy  and  chemistry,  as  may  en- 
able us  to  set  out  with  tolerable  competence,  if  we  can,  through 
the  banks  and  otherwise,  anticipate  the  whole  sum  at  once. 

I  remark  what  you  say  on  the  subject  of  committing  ourselves 
to  any  one  for  the  law  appointment.  Your  caution  is  perfectly 
just.  I  hope,  and  am  certain,  that  this  will  be  the  standing  law 
of  discretion  and  duty  with  every  member  of  our  board,  in  this 
and  all  cases.  You  know  we  have  all,  from  the  beginning,  con- 
sidered the  high  qualifications  of  our  professors,  as  the  only 
means  by  which  we  could  give  to  our  institution  splendor  and 
pre-eminence  over  all  its  sister  seminaries.  The  only  question, 
therefore,  we  can  ever  ask  ourselves,  as  to  any  candidate,  will 
be,  is  he  the  most  highly  qualified  ?  The  college  of  Philadel- 
phia has  lost  its  character  of  primacy  by  indulging  motives  of 
favoritism  and  nepotism,  and  by  conferring  the  appointments  as 
if  the  professorships  were  entrusted  to  them  as  provisions  for 
their  friends.     And  even  that  of  Edinburgh,  you  know,  is  also 


much  lowered  from  the  same  cause.  We  are  next  to  obseive, 
that  a  man  is  not  qualified  for  a  professor,  knowing  nothing  but 
merely  his  own  profession.  He  should  be  otherwise  well  educat- 
ed as  to  the  sciences  generally ;  able  to  converse  understandingly 
with  the  scientific  men  with  whom  he  is  associated,  and  to  as- 
sist in  the  councils  of  the  faculty  on  any  subject  of  science  on 
which  they  may  have  occasion  to  deliberate.  Without  this,  he 
will  incur  their  contempt,  and  bring  disreputation  on  the  institu- 
tion. With  respect  to  the  professorship  you  mention,  I  scarcely 
know  any  of  our  judges  personally  ;  but  I  will  name,  for  exam- 
ple, the  late  Judge  Roane,  who,  I  believe,  was  generally  admit- 
ted to  be  among  the  ablest  of  them.  His  knowledge  was  con- 
fined to  the  common  law  chiefly,  which  does  not  constitute  one- 
half  of  the  qualification  of  a  really  learned  lawyer,  much  less  that 
of  a  professor  of  law  for  an  University.  And  as  to  any  other 
branches  of  science,  he  mast  have  stood  mute  in  the  presence  of 
his  literary  associates,  or  of  any  learned  strangers  or  others  visit- 
ing the  University.  Would  this  constitute  the  splendid  stand  we 
propose  to  take  ? 

In  the  course  of  the  trusts  I  have  exercised  through  life  with 
powers  of  appointment,  I  can  say  with  truth,  and  with  unspeak- 
able comfort,  that  1  never  did  appoint  a  relation  to  office,  and 
that  merely  because  I  never  saw  the  case  in  which  some  one  did 
not  ofi'er,  or  occur,  better  qualified  ;  and  I  have  the  most  unlimited 
confidence,  that  in  the  appointment  of  Professors  to  our  nursling 
institution,  every  individual  of  my  associates  will  look  with  a  single 
eye  to  the  sublimation  of  its  character,  and  adopt,  as  our  sacred 
motto, '' detur  dig?iiori."  In  this  way  it  will  honor  us,  nd  bless 
our  country. 

I  perceive  that  I  have  permitted  my  reflections  to  run  mto 
generalities  beyond  the  scope  of  the  particular  intimation  in  yom' 
letter.  I  will  let  them  go,  however,  as  a  general  confession  of 
faith,  not  belonging  merely  to  the  present  case. 

Name  me  affectionately  to  our  brethren  with  you,  and  be  as- 
sured yourself  of  my  constant  friendship  and  respect. 



MoNTiCELLO,  February  4,  1 824. 

Dear  Sir, — I  duly  received  your  favor  of  the  13th,  and  with 
it,  the  last  number  of  the  North  American  Review.  This  has 
anticipated  the  one  I  should  receive  in  course,  but  have  not  yet 
received,  under  my  subscription  to  the  new  series.  The  article 
on  the  African  colonization  of  the  people  of  color,  to  which  you 
invite  my  attention,  I  have  read  with  great  consideration.  It  is, 
indeed,  a  fine  one,  and  will  do  much  good.  I  learn  from  it  more, 
too,  than  I  had  before  known,  of  the  degree  of  success  and  prom- 
ise of  that  colony. 

In  the  disposition  of  these  unfortunate  people,  there  are  two 
rational  objects  to  be  distinctly  kept  in  view.  First.  The  es- 
tablishment of  a  colony  on  the  coast  of  Africa,  which  may  intro- 
duce among  the  aborigines  the  arts  of  cultivated  life,  and  the 
blessings  of  civilization  and  science.  By  doing  this,  we  may 
make  to  them  some  retribution  for  the  long  course  of  injuries  we 
have  been  committing  on  their  population.  And  considering 
that  these  blessings  will  descend  to  the  "  nati  natorum,  et  qui 
nascentur  ab  illis"  we  shall  in  the  long  run  have  rendered  them 
perhaps  more  good  than  evil.  To  fulfil  this  object,  the  colony 
of  Sierra  Leone  promises  well,  and  that  of  Mesurado  adds  to  our 
prospect  of  success.  Under  this  view,  the  colonization  society 
is  to  be  considered  as  a  missionary  society,  having  in  view,  how- 
ever, objects  more  humane,  more  justifiable,  and  less  aggressive 
on  the  peace  of  other  nations,  than  the  others  of  that  appellation. 

The  econd  object,  and  the  most  interesting  to  us,  as  coming 
home  to  our  physical  and  moral  characters,  to  our  happiness  and 
safety,  is  to  provide  an  asylum  to  which  we  can,  by  degrees,  send 
the  whole  of  that  population  from  among  us,  and  establish  them 
under  our  patronage  and  protection,  as  a  separate,  free  and  inde- 
pendent people,  in  some  country  and  climate  friendly  to  human 
life  and  happiness.  That  any  place  on  the  coast  of  Africa  should 
answer  the  latter  purpose,  I  have  ever  deemed  entirely  impossible. 
And  without  repeating  the  other  arguments  which  have  been  urged 


by  others,  I  will  appeal  to  figures  only,  which  admit  no  contro- 
versy. I  shall  speak  in  round  numbers,  not  absolutely  accurate, 
yet  not  so  wide  from  truth  as  to  vary  the  result  materially. 
There  are  in  the  United  States  a  million  and  a  half  of  people  of 
color  in  slavery.  To  send  off  the  whole  of  these  at  once,  no- 
body conceives  to  be  practicable  for  us,  or  expedient  for  them. 
Let  us  take  twenty-five  years  for  its  accomplishment,  within 
which  time  they  will  be  doubled.  Their  estimated  value  as  prop- 
erty, in  the  first  place,  (for  actual  property  has  been  lawfully 
vested  in  that  form,  and  who  can  lawfully  take  it  from  the  pos- 
sessors ?)  at  an  average  of  two  hundred  dollars  each,  young  and 
old,  would  amount  to  six  hundred  millions  of  dollars,  which  must 
be  paid  or  lost  by  somebody.  To  this,  add  the  cost  of  their 
transportation  by  land  and  sea  to  Mesurado,  a  year's  provision  of 
food  and  clothing,  implements  of  husbandry  and  of  their  trades, 
which  will  amount  to  three  hundred  millions  more,  making 
thirty-six  millions  of  dollars  a  year  for  twenty-five  years,  with 
insurance  of  peace  all  that  time,  and  it  is  impossible  to  look  at 
the  question  a  second  time.  I  am  aware  that  at  the  end  of  about 
sixteen  years,  a  gradual  detraction  from  this  sum  will  commence, 
from  the  gradual  diminution  of  breeders,  and  go  on  during  the 
remaining  nine  years.  Calculate  this  deduction,  and  it  is  still 
impossible  to  look  at  the  enterprise  a  second  time.  I  do  not  say 
this  to  induce  an  inference  that  the  getting  rid  of  them  is  forever 
impossible.  For  that  is  neither  my  opinion  nor  my  hope.  But 
only  that  it  cannot  be  done  in  this  way.  There  is,  I  think,  a 
way  in  which  it  can  be  done  ;  that  is,  by  emancipating  the  after- 
born,  leaving  them,  on  due  compensation,  with  their  mothers, 
until  their  services  are  worth  theii'  maintenance,  and  then  put- 
img  them  to  industrious  occupations,  until  a  proper  age  for  de- 
portation. This  was  the  result  of  my  reflections  on  the  subject 
five  and  forty  years  ago,  and  I  have  never  yet  been  able  to  con- 
ceive any  other  practicable  plan.  It  was  sketched  in  the  Notes 
on  Virginia,  under  the  fourteenth  query.  The  estimated  value 
of  the  new-born  infant  is  so  low,  (say  twelve  dollars  and  fifty 
cents,)  that  it  would  probably  be  yielded  by  the  owner  gratis. 


and  would  thus  reduce  the  six  hiindred  millions  of  dollars,  the 
first  head  of  expense,  to  thirty-seven  millions  and  a  half ;  leaving 
only  the  expenses  of  nourishment  while  with  the  mother,  and 
of  transportation.  And  from  what  fund  are  these  expenses  to 
be  furnished  ?  Why  not  from  that  of  the  lands  which  have 
been  ceded  by  the  very  States  now  needing  this  relief?  And 
ceded  on  no  consideration,  for  the  most  part,  but  that  of  the  gen- 
eral good  of  the  whole.  These  cessions  already  constitute  one 
fourth  of  the  States  of  the  Union.  It  may  be  said  that  these 
lands  have  been  sold ;  are  now  the  property  of  the  citizens  com- 
posing those  States ;  and  the  money  long  ago  received  and  ex- 
pended. But  an  equivalent  of  lands  in  the  territories  since  ac- 
quired, may  be  appropriated  to  that  object,  or  so  much,  at  least, 
as  may  be  sufficient ;  and  the  object,  although  more  important 
to  the  slave  States,  is  highly  so  to  the  others  also,  if  they  were 
serious  in  their  arguments  on  the  Missouri  question.  The  slave 
States,  too,  if  more  interested,  would  also  contribute  more  by 
their  gratuitous  liberation,  thus  taking  on  themselves  alone  the 
first  and  heaviest  item  of  expense. 

In  the  plan  sketched  in  the  Notes  on  Virginia,  no  particular 
place  of  asylum  was  specified  ;  because  it  was  thought  possible, 
that  in  the  revolutionary  state  of  America,  then  commenced, 
events  might  open  to  us  some  one  within  practicable  distance. 
This  has  now  happened.  St.  Domingo  has  become  independent, 
and  with  a  population  of  that  color  only ;  and  if  the  public  papers 
are  to  be  credited,  their  Chief  offers  to  pay  their  passage,  to  re- 
ceive them  as  free  citizens,  and  to  provide  them  employment. 
This  leaves,  then,  for  the  general  confederacy,  no  expense  but  of 
nurture  with  the  mother  a  few  years,  and  would  call,  of  course, 
for  a  very  moderate  appropriation  of  the  vacant  lands.  Suppose 
the  whole  annual  increase  to  be  of  sixty  thousand  effective  births, 
fifty  vessels,  of  four  hundred  tons  burthen  each,  constantly  em- 
ployed in  that  short  run,  would  carry  off'  the  increase  of  every 
year,  and  the  old  stock  would  die  oiF  in  the  ordinary  course  of 
nature,  lessening  from  the  commencement  until  its  final  disap- 
pearance.    In  this  way  no  violation  of  private  right  is  proposed, 


Voluntary  surrenders  -would  probably  come  in  as  fast  as  the  means 
to  be  provided  for  their  care  would  be  competent  to  it.  Looking 
at  my  own  State  only,  and  I  presume  not  to  speak  for  the  others, 
I  verily  believe  that  this  surrender  of  property  would  not  amount 
to  more,  annually,  than  half  our  present  direct  taxes,  to  be  con- 
tinued fully  about  twenty  or  twenty-five  years,  and  then  gradually 
diminishing  for  as  many  more  until  their  final  extinction ;  and 
even  this  half  tax  would  not  be  paid  in  cash,  but  by  the  delivery 
of  an  object  which  they  have  never  yet  known  or  counted  as  part 
of  their  property  ;  and  those  not  possessing  the  object  will  be  called 
on  for  nothing.  I  do  not  go  into  all  the  details  of  the  burthens 
and  benefits  of  this  operation.  And  who  could  estimate  its  blessed 
effects  ?  I  leave  this  to  those  who  will  live  to  see  their  accom- 
plishment, and  to  enjoy  a  beatitude  forbidden  to  my  age.  But  I 
leave  it  with  this  admonition,  to  rise  and  be  doing.  A  million 
and  a  half  are  within  their  control ;  but  six  millions,  (which  a 
majority  of  those  now  living  will  see  them  attain,)  and  one  mill- 
ion of  these  fighting  men,  will  say,  "  we  will  not  go." 

I  am  aware  that  this  subject  involves  some  constitutional  scru- 
ples. But  a  liberal  construction,  justified  by  the  object,  may  go 
far,  and  an  amendment  of  the  constitution,  the  whole  length  ne- 
cessary. The  separation  of  infants  from  their  mothers,  too,  would 
produce  some  scruples  of  humanity.  But  this  would  be  straining 
at  a  gnat,  and  swallowing  a  camel. 

I  am  much  pleased  to  see  that  you  have  taken  up  the  subject 
of  the  duty  on  imported  books.  I  hope  a  crusade  will  be  kept 
up  against  it,  until  those  in  power  shall  become  sensible  of  this 
stain  on  our  legislation,  and  shall  wipe  it  from  their  code,  and  from 
the  remembrance  of  man,  if  possible. 

I  salute  you  with  assurances  of  high  respect  and  esteem. 



MoNTicELLO,  February  H,  1824. 

Dear  Sir, — I  have  to  thank  you  for  the  copy  of  Colonel  Tay- 
lor's New  Views  of  the  Constitution,  and  shall  read  them  with 
the  satisfaction  and  edification  which  I  have  ever  derived  from 
whatever  he  has  written.  But  I  fear  it  is  the  voice  of  one  crying 
in  the  wilderness.  Those  who  formerly  usurped  the  name  of 
federalists,  which,  in  fact,  they  never  were,  have  now  openly 
abandoned  it,  and  are  as  openly  marching  by  the  road  of  con- 
struction, in  a  direct  line  to  that  consolidation  which  was  always 
their  real  object.  They,  almost  to  a  man,  are  in  possession  of 
one  branch  of  the  government,  and  appear  to  be  very  strong  in 
yours.  The  three  great  questions  of  amendment  now  before 
you,  will  give  the  measure  of  their  strength.  I  mean,  1st,  the 
limitation  of  the  term  of  the  presidential  service  ;  2d,  the  placing 
the  choice  of  president  effectually  in  the  hands  of  the  people  ; 
3d,  the  giving  to  Congress  the  power  of  internal  improvement, 
on  condition  that  each  State's  federal  proportion  of  the  monies 
so  expended,  shall  be  employed  within  the  State.  The  friends 
of  consolidation  would  rather  take  these  powers  by  construction 
than  accept  them  by  direct  investiture  from  the  States.  Yet,  as 
to  internal  improvement  particularly,  there  is  probably  not  a 
State  in  the  Union  which  would  not  grant  the  power  on  the  con- 
dition proposed,  or  which  would  grant  it  without  that. 

The  best  general  key  for  the  solution  of  questions  of  power 
between  our  governments,  is  the  fact  that  "  every  foreign  and 
federal  power  is  given  to  the  federal  government,  and  to  the 
States  every  poweB  purely  domestic."  I  recollect  but  one  m- 
stance  of  control  vested  in  the  federal,  over  the  State  authorities 
ui  a  matter  purely  domestic,  which  is  that  of  metallic  tenders. 
The  federal  is,  in  truth,  our  foreign  government,  which  depart- 
ment alone  is  taken  from  the  sovereignty  of  the  separate  States. 

The  real  friends  of  the  constitution  in  its  federal  form,  if  they 
wish  it  to  be  immortal,  should  be  attentive,  by  amendments,  to 
make  it  keep  pace  with  the  advance  of  the  age  in  science  and 


experience.  Instead  of  this,  the  European  governments  have  re- 
sisted reformation,  until  the  people,  seeing  no  other  resource,  un- 
dertake it  themselves  by  force,  their  only  weapon,  and  work  it 
out  through  blood,  desolation  and  long-continued  anarchy.  Here 
it  will  be  by  large  fragments  breaking  off,  and  refusing  re-union 
but  on  condition  of  amendment,  or  perhaps  permanently.  If  I 
can  see  these  three  great  amendments  prevail,  I  shall  consider  it 
as  a  renewed  extension  of  the  term  of  our  lease,  shall  live  in 
more  confidence,  and  die  in  more  hope.  And  I  do  trust  that  the 
republican  mass,  which  Colonel  Taylor  justly  says  is  the  real 
federal  one,  is  still  strong  enough  to  carry  these  truly  federo-re- 
publican  amendments.  With  my  prayers  for  the  issue,  accept 
my  friendly  and  respectful  salutations. 


MoNTicELLo,  February  25,  1824. 

SiK, — The  kindness  of  the  motive  which  led  to  the  request  of 
your  letter  of  the  14th  instant,  and  which  would  give  some  value 
to  an  article  from  me,  renders  compliance  a  duty  of  gratitude  ; 
knowing  nothing  more  moral,  more  sublime,  more  worthy  of 
your  preservation  than  David's  description  of  the  good  man,  in 
his  15th  Psalm,  I  will  here  transcribe  it  from  Brady  &  Tate's 
version : 

Lord,  who's  the  happy  man  that  may  to  thy  blest  courts  repair, 
Not  stranger-like,  to  visit  them,  but  to  inhabit  there  ? 
"Tis  he  whose  every  thought  and  deed  by  rules  of  virtue  moves. 
Whose  generous  tongue  disdains  to  speak  the  thing  his  heart  disproves. 
"Who  never  did  a  slander  forge,  his  neighbor's  fame  to  wound, 
Nor  hearken  to  a  false  report  by  malice  whispered  round. 
Who,  vice,  in  all  its  pomp  and  power,  can  treat  with  just  neglect; 
And  piety,  though  clothed  in  rags,  religiously  respect. 
Who,  to  his  plighted  vowa  and  trust,  has  ever  firmly  stood, 
And  though  he  promise  to  his  loss  he  makes  his  promise  good. 
Whose  soul  in  usury  disdains  his  treasure  to  employ, 
Whom  no  rewards  can  ever  bribe  the  guiltless  to  destroy. 
The  man  who  by  this  steady  course  has  happiness  ensured, 
When  earth's  foundation  shakes,  shall  stand  by  providence  secured. 
VOi.  VII.  22 


Accept  this  as  a  testimony  of  my  respect  for  your  request,  an 
acknowledgment  of  a  due  sense  of  the  favor  of  your  opinion, 
and  an  assurance  of  my  good  will  and  best  wishes. 



MoNTiOKLLO,  March  24,  1824. 

I  have  to  thank  you,  dear  Sir,  for  the  copy  I  have  received 
of  your  System  of  Universal  Science,  for  which,  I  presume,  I 
am  indebted  to  yourself.  It  will  be  a  monument  of  the  learning 
of  the  author  and  of  the  analyzing  powers  of  his  mind.  Whether 
it  may  be  adopted  in  general  use  is  yet  to  be  seen.  These  an- 
alytical views  indeed  must  always  be  ramified  according  to  their 
object.  Yours  is  on  the  great  scale  of  a  methodical  encyclope- 
dia of  all  human  sciences,  taking  for  the  basis  of  their  distribu- 
tion, matter,  mind,  and  the  union  of  both.  Lord  Bacon  founded 
his  first  great  division  on  the  faculties  of  the  mind  which  have 
"cognizance  of  these  sciences.  It  does  not  seem  to  have  been  ob- 
served by  any  one  that  the  origination  of  this  division  was  not 
with  him.  It  had  been  proposed  by  Charron  more  than  twenty 
years  before,  in  his  book  de  la  Sagesse,  B.  1,  c.  14,  and  an  im- 
perfect ascription  of  the  sciences  to  these  respective  faculties  was 
there  attempted.  This  excellent  moral  work  was  published  in 
1600.  Lord  Bacon  is  said  not  to  have  entered  on  his  great  work 
until  his  retirement  from  public  office  in  1621.  Where  sciences 
are  to  be  arranged  in  accommodation  to  the  schools  of  an  univer- 
sity, they  will  be  grouped  to  coincide  with  the  kindred  qualifica- 
tions of  Professors  in  ordinary.  For  a  library,  which  was  my 
object,  their  divisions  and  subdivisions  will  be  made  such  as  to 
throw  convenient  masses  of  books  under  each  separate  head. 
Thus,  m  the  library  of  a  physician,  the  books  of  that  science,  of 
which  he  has  many,  will  be  subdivivided  under  many  heads ; 
and  those  of  law,  of  which  he  has  few,  will  be  placed  under  a 
single  one.  The  lawyer,  again,  will  distribute  his  law  books 
under  many  subdivisions,  his  medical  under  a  single  one.     Your 


idea  of  making  the  subject  matter  of  the  sciences  the  basis  of 
their  distribution,  is  certainly  more  reasonable  than  that  of  the 
faculties  to  which  they  are  addressed.  The  materialists  will  per- 
haps criticize  a  basis,  one-half  of  which  they  will  say  is  a  non- 
existence ;  adhering  to  the  axiom  of  Aristotle,  "  nihil  est  in  in- 
tellectu  quod  prius  non  fuerit  in  sensu"  and  affirming  that  we 
can  have  no  evidence  of  any  existence  which  impresses  no  sense. 
Of  this  opinion  were  most  of  the  ancient  philosophers,  and  several 
of  the  early  and  orthodox  fathers  of  the  christian  church.  Indeed, 
Jesus  himself,  the  founder  of  our  religion,  was  unquestionably  a 
materialist  as  to  man.  In  all  his  doctrines  of  the  resurrection,  he 
teaches  expressly  that  the  body  is  to  rise  in  substance.  In  the 
Apostles'  Creed,  we  all  declare  that  we  believe  in  the  "resurrec- 
tion of  the  body."  Jesus  said  that  God  is  spirit  [tif u(i»]  with- 
out defining  it.  Tertullian  supplies  the  definition,  "  quis  nega- 
hit  Deum  esse  corpus,  etsi  Deus  Spiritus  7  spiritus  etiam  corporis 
sui  getieris  in  sua  effigie."  And  Origen,  "  itnuintjon  accipi,  docet, 
pro  eo  quod  non  est  simile  huic  nostro  crassiori  et  visibli  corpori, 
sed  quod  est  naturaliter  subtile  et  velut  aura  tenue."  The  mod- 
ern philosophers  mostly  consider  thought  as  a  function  of  our  ma- 
terial organization  ;  and  Locke  particularly  among  them,  charges 
with  blasphemy  those  who  deny  that  Omnipotence  could  give 
the  faculty  of  thinking  to  certain  combinations  of  matter. 

Were  I  to  re-compose  my  tabular  view  of  the  sciences,  I 
should  certainly  transpose  a  particular  branch.  The  naturalists, 
you  know,  distribute  the  history  of  nature  into  three  kingdoms 
or  departments :  zoology,  botany,  mineralogy.  Ideology  or  mind, 
however,  occupies  so  much  space  in  the  field  of  science,  that  we 
might  perhaps  erect  it  into  a  fourth  kingdom  or  department. 
But,  inasmuch  as  it  makes  a  part  of  the  animal  construction  only, 
it  would  be  more  proper  to  subdivide  zoology  into  physical  and 
moral.  The  latter  including  ideology,  ethics,  and  mental  science 
generally,  in  my  catalogue,  considering  ethics,  as  well  as  relig- 
ion, as  supplements  to  law  in  the  government  of  man,  I  had 
placed  them  in  that  sequence.  But  certainly  the  faculty  of 
thought  belongs  to  animal  history,  is  an  important  portion  of  it 


and  should  there  find  its  place.  But  these  are  speculations  in 
which  I  do  not  now  permit  myself  to  labor.  My  mind  unwill- 
ingly engages  in  severe  investigations.  Its  energies,  indeed,  are 
no  onger  equal  to  them.  Being  to  thank  you  for  your  book,  its 
subject  has  run  away  with  me  into  a  labyrinth  of  ideas  no  longer 
familiar,  and  writing  also  has  become  a  slow  and  irksome  opera- 
tion with  me.  I  have  been  obliged  to  avail  myself  of  the  pen 
of  a  granddaughter  for  this  communication.  I  will  here,  there- 
fore, close  my  task  of  thinking,  hers  of  writing,  and  yours  of  read- 
ing, with  assurances  of  my  constant  and  high  respect  and  esteem. 


MoNTicELLO,  M.arch  21,  1824 

Dear  Sir, — I  have  to  thank  you  for  your  Greek  reader,  which, 
tor  the  use  of  schools,  is  evidently  preferable  to  the  Collectanea 
Grseca.  These  have  not  arranged  their  selections  so  well  in  gra- 
dation from  the  easier  to  the  more  difficult  styles. 

On  the  subject  of  the  Greek  ablative,  I  dare  say  that  your  his- 
torical explanation  is  the  true  one.  In  the  early  stages  of  lan- 
guages, the  distinctions  of  cases  may  well  be  supposed  so  few  as 
to  be  readily  effected  by  changes  of  termination.  The  Greeks, 
in  this  way,  seem  to  have  formed  five,  the  Latins  six,  and  to 
have  supplied  their  deficiences  as  they  occurred  in  the  progress 
of  development,  by  prepositive  words.  In  later  times,  the  Ital- 
ians, Spaniards,  and  French,  have  depended  on  prepositions  alto- 
gether, without  any  inflection  of  the  primitive  word  to  denote 
the  change  of  case.  What  is  singular  as  to  the  English  is,  that 
in  its  early  form  of  Anglo-Saxon,  having  distinguished  several 
cases  by  changes  of  termination,  at  later  periods  it  has  dropped 
these,  retains  but  that  of  the  genitive,  and  supplies  all  the  others 
by  prepositions.  These  subjects,  with  me,  are  neither  favorites 
nor  familiar ;  and  your  letter  has  occasioned  me  to  look  more 
into  the  particular  one  in  question  than  I  had  ever  done  before. 
Turning,  for  satisfaction,  to  the  work  of  Tracy,  the  most  pro- 


found  of  our  ideological  writers,  and  to  the  volume  particularly 
which  treats  of  grammar,  I  find  what  I  suppose  to  be  the  correct 
doctrine  of  the  case.  Omitting  unnecessary  words  to  abridge 
writing,  I  copy  what  he  says  :  "  II  y  a  des  langues  qui  par  cer- 
tains changemens  de  desinence,  appelles  cas,  indiquent  quelques- 
uns  des  rapports  des  noms  avec  d'autres  noms ;  mais  beaucoup 
de  langues  n'ont  point  de  cas  ;  et  celles  qui  en  ont,  n'en  ont  qu'un 
petit  nombre,  tandis  que  les  divers  rapports  qu'une  idee  pent  avoir 
avec  une  autre  sont  extremement  multiplies :  ainsi,  les  cas  ne 
peuvent  exprimer  qu'en  general,  les  principaux  de  ces  rapports. 
Aussi  dans  toutes  les  langues,  meme  dans  celles  qui  ont  des  cas, 
on  a  senti  le  besoin  de  mots  distincts,  separes  des  autres,  et  ex- 
pressement  destines  a  cet  usage  ;  ils  ce  qu'on  appelle  des  preposi- 
tions." 2  Tracy  Siemens  d'Ideologie,  c.  3,  '§>  5,  p.  114,  and  he 
names  the  Basque  "and  Peruvian  languages,  whose  nouns  have 
such  various  changes  of  termination  as  to  express  all  the  relations 
which  other  languages  express  by  prepositions,  and  therefore 
having  no  prepositions.  On  this  ground,  I  suppose,  then,  we 
may  rest  the  question  of  the  Greek  ablative.  It  leaves  with  me 
a  single  difficulty  only,  to-wit :  the  instances  where  they  have 
given  the  ablative  signification  to  the  dative  termination,  some 
of  which  I  quoted  in  my  former  letter  to  you. 

I  have  just  received  a  letter  from  Coray,  at  Paris,  of  the  28th 
December,  in  which  he  confirms  the  late  naval  success  of  the 
Greeks,  but  expresses  a  melancholy  fear  for  his  nation,  "  qui  a 
montre  jusqu'a  ce  moment  des  prodiges  de  valeur,  mais  qui, 
delivree  d'un  joug  de  Cannibass,  ne  pent  encore  posseder  ni  les 
legons  d'instruction,  ni  celles  de  I'experience."  I  confess  I  have 
the  same  fears  for  our  South  American  brethren  ;  the  qualifica- 
tions for  self-government  in  society  are  not  innate.  They  are 
the  result  of  habit  and  long  training,  and  for  these  they  wi.l  re- 
quire time  and  probably  much  suffering. 

I  salute  you  with  assurances  of  great  esteem  and  respect. 



MoNTiCELLO,  April  4,  1 824. 

Dear  Sik, — It  was  with  great  pleasure  I  learned  that  the  good 
people  of  New  Orleans  had  restored  you  again  to  the  councils  of 
our  country.  I  did  not  doubt  the  aid  it  would  bring  to  the  re- 
mains of  our  old  school  in  Congress,  in  which  your  early  labors 
had  been  so  useful.  You  will  find,  I  suppose,  on  revisiting  our 
maritime  States,  the  names  of  things  more  changed  than  the 
things  themselves ;  that  though  our  old  opponents  have  given  up 
their  appellation,  they  have  not,  in  assuming  ours,  abandoned 
their  views,  and  that  they  are  as  strong  nearly  as  they  ever  were. 
These  cares,  however,  are  no  longer  mine.  I  resign  myself  cheer- 
fully to  the  managers  of  the  ship,  and  the  more  contentedly,  as  I 
am  near  the  end  of  my  voyage.  I  have  learned  to  be  less  confi- 
dent in  the  conclusions  of  human  reason,  and  give  more  credit  to 
the  honesty  of  contrary  opinions.  The  radical  idea  of  the  char- 
acter of  the  constitution  of  our  government,  which  I  have  adopted 
as  a  key  in  cases  of  doubtful  construction,  is,  that  the  whole  field 
of  government  is  divided  into  two  departments,  domestic  and 
foreign,  (the  States  in  their  mutual  relations  being  of  the  latter;) 
that  the  former  department  is  reserved  exclusively  to  the  respec- 
tive States  within  their  own  limits,  and  the  latter  assigned  to  a 
separate  set  of  functionaries,  constituting  what  may  be  called  the 
foreign  branch,  which,  instead  of  a  federal  basis,  is  established  as 
a  distinct  government  quoad  hoc,  acting  as  the  domestic  branch 
does  on  the  citizens  directly  and  coercively ;  that  these  depart- 
partments  have  distinct  directories,  co-ordinate,  and  equally  in- 
dependent and  supreme,  each  within  its  own  sphere  of  action. 
Whenever  a  doubt  arises  to  which  of  these  branches  a  power  be- 
longs, I  try  it  by  this  test.  I  recollect  no  case  where  a  question 
simply  between  citizens  of  the  same  State,  has  been  transferred 
to  the  foreign  department,  except  that  of  inhibiting  tenders  but 
of  metallic  money,  and  ex  post  facto  legislation.  The  causes  of 
these  singularities  are  well  remembered. 

I  thank  you  for  the  copy  of  your  speech  on  the  question  of 


national  improvement,  which  I  have  read  with  great  pleasure, 
and  recognize  in  it  those  powers  of  reasoning  and  persuasion  of 
which  I  had  formerly  seen  from  you  so  many  proofs.  Yet,  in 
candor,  I  must  say  it  has  not  removed,  in  my  mind,  all  the  diffi- 
culties of  the  question.  And  I  should  really  be  alarmed  at  a  dif- 
ference of  opinion  with  you,  and  suspicious  of  my  own,  were  it 
not  that  I  have,  as  companions  in  sentiments,  the  Madisons,  the 
Monroes,  the  Randolphs,  the  Macons,  all  good  men  ^nd  true,  of 
primitive  principles.  In  one  sentiment  of  the  speech  I  particu- 
larly concur.  "If  we  have  a  doubt  relative  to  any  power,  we 
ought  not  to  exercise  it."  When  we  consider  the  extensive  and 
deep-seated  opposition  to  this  assumption,  the  conviction  enter- 
tained by  so  many,  that  this  deduction  of  powers  by  elaborate 
construction  prostrates  the  rights  reserved  to  the  States,  the  diffi- 
culties with  which  it  will  rub  along  in  the  course  of  its  exercise  ; 
that  changes  of  majorities  will  be  changing  the  system  back- 
wards and  forwards,  so  that  no  undertaking  mider  it  will  be  safe  ; 
that  there  is  not  a  State  in  the  Union  which  would  not  give  the 
power  willingly,  by  way  of  amendment,  with  some  little  guard, 
perhaps,  against  abuse  ;  I  cannot  but  think  it  would  be  the  wisest 
course  to  ask  an  express  grant  of  the  power.  A  government  held 
together  by  the  bands  of  reason  only,  requires  much  compromise 
of  opinion ;  that  things  even  salutary  should  not  be  crammed 
down  the  throats  of  dissenting  brethren,  especially  when  they 
may  be  put  into  a  form  to  be  willingly  swallowed,  and  that  a 
great  deal  of  indulgence  is  necessary  to  strengthen  habits  of  har- 
mony and  fraternity.  In  such  a  case,  it  seems  to  me  it  would  be 
safer  and  wiser  to  ask  an  express  grant  of  the  power.  This 
would  render  its  exercise  smooth  and  acceptable  to  all,  and  in- 
sure to  it  all  the  facilities  which  the  States  could  contribute,  to 
prevent  that  kind  of  abuse  which  all  will  fear,  because  all  know 
it  is  so  much  practised  in  public  bodies,  I  mean  the  bartering  of 
votes.  It  would  reconcile  every  one,  if  limited  by  the  proviso, 
that  the  federal  proportion  of  each  State  should  be  expended 
within  the  State.  With  this  single  security  against  partiality 
and  corrupt  bargaining,  I  suppose  there  is  not  a  State,  perhaps 


not  a  man  in  the  Union,  who  would  not  consent  to  atld  this  tc 
the  powers  of  the  general  government.  But  age  has  'v^eaned  me 
from  questions  of  this  kind.  My  delight  is  now  in  the  passive 
occupation  of  reading ;  and  it  is  with  great  reluctance  I  permit 
my  mind  ever  to  encounter  subjects  of  difficult  investigation. 
You  have  many  years  yet  to  come  of  vigorous  activity,  and  I 
confidently  trust  they  will  be  employed  in  cherishing  every 
measure  which  may  foster  our  brotherly  union,  and  perpetuate  a 
constitution  of  government  destined  to  be  the  primitive  and  pre- 
cious model  of  what  is  to  change  the  condition  of  man  over  the 
globe.  With  this  confidence,  equally  strong  in  your  powers  and 
purposes,  I  pray  you  to  accept  the  assurance  of  my  cordial  es- 
teem and  respect. 


MoNTicELLO,  April  19,  1824. 

Deah  Sir, — I  received  in  due  time  your  favor  of  the  12th,  re- 
questing my  opinion  on  the  proposition  to  call  a  convention  for 
amending  the  constitution  of  the  State.  That  this  should  not  be 
perfect  cannot  be  a  subject  of  wonder,  when  it  is  considered  that 
ours  was  not  only  the  first  of  the  American  States,  but  the  first 
nation  in  the  world,  at  least  within  the  records  of  history,  which 
peaceably  by  its  wise  men,  formed  on  free  deliberation,  a  consti- 
tution of  government  for  itself,  and  deposited  it  in  writing,  among 
their  archives,  always  ready  and  open  to  the  appeal  of  every  citi- 
zen. The  other  States,  who  successively  formed  constitutions 
for  themselves  also,  had  the  benefit  of  our  outline,  and  have  made 
on  it,  doubtless,  successive  improvements.  One  in  the  very  out- 
set, and  which  has  been  adopted  in  every  subsequent  constitu- 
tion, was  to  lay  its  foundation  in  the  authority  of  the  nation.  To 
our  convention  no  special  authority  had  been  delegated  by  the 
people  to  form  a  permanent  constitution,  over  which  their  suc- 
cessors in  legislation  should  have  no  powers  of  alteration.  They 
had  been  elected  for  the  ordinary  purposes  of  legislation  only, 


and  at  a  time  when  the  estabhshment  of  a  new  government  had 
not  been  proposed  or  contemplated.  Although,  therefore,  they 
gave  to  this  act  the  title  of  a  constitution,  yet  it  could  be  no  more 
than  an  act  of  legislation  subject,  as  their  other  acts  were,  to  al- 
teration by  their  successors.  It  has  been  said,  indeed,  that  the 
acquiescence  of  the  people  supplied  the  want  of  original  power. 
But  it  is  a  dangerous  lesson  to  say  to  them  "whenever  your 
functionaries  exercise  unlawful  authority  over  you,  if  you  do 
not  go  into  actual  resistance,  it  will  be  deemed  acquiescence  and 
confirmation."  How  long  had  we  acquiesced  under  usurpations 
of  the  British  parliament  ?  Had  that  confirmed  them  in  right, 
and  made  our  revolution  a  wrong  ?  Besides,  no  authority  has 
yet  decided  whether  this  resistance  must  be  instantaneous  ;  Avhen 
the  right  to  resist  ceases,  or  whether  it  has  yet  ceased  ?  Of  the 
twenty-four  States  now  organized,  twenty-three  have  disapproved 
our  doctrine  and  example,  and  have  deemed  the  authority  of  their 
people  a  necessary  foundation  for  a  constitution. 

Another  defect  which  has  been  corrected  by  most  of  the  States 
iS,  that  the  basis  of  our  constitution  is  in  opposition  to  the  princi- 
ple of  equal  political  rights,  refusing  to  all  but  freeholders  any 
participation  in  the  natural  right  of  self-government.  It  is  be- 
lieved, for  example,  that  a  very  great  majority  of  the  militia,  on 
whom  the  burthen  of  military  duty  was  imposed  in  the  late  war, 
were  men  unrepresented  in  the  legislation  which  imposed  this 
burthen  on  them.  However  nature  may  by  mental  or  physical 
disqualifications  have  marked  infants  and  the  weaker  sex  for  the 
protection,  rather  than  the  direction  of  government,  yet  among 
the  men  who  either  pay  or  fight  for  their  country,  no  line  of 
right  can  be  drawn.  The  exclusion  of  a  majority  of  our  free- 
men from  the  right  of  representation  is  merely  arbitrary,  and  an 
usurpation  of  the  minority  over  the  majority ;  for  it  is  believed 
that  the  non-freeholders  compose  the  majority  of  our  free  and 
adult  male  citizens. 

And  even  among  our  citizens  who  participate  in  the  represent- 
ative privilege,  the  equality  of  political  rights  is  entirely  prostrat- 
ed by  our  constitution.     Upon  which  principle  of  right  or  rea- 


son  can  any  one  justify  the  giving  to  every  citizen  of  Warwick 
as  much  weight  in  the  government  as  to  twenty-two  equal  citi- 
zens in  Loudon,  and  similar  inequalities  among  the  other  coun- 
ties ?  If  these  fundamental  principles  are  of  no  importance  in 
actual  government,  then  no  principles  are  important,  and  it  is  as 
well  to  rely  on  the  dispositions  of  an  administration,  good  or 
evil,  as  on  the  provisions  of  a  constitution. 

I  shall  not  enter  into  the  details  of  smaller  defects,  although 
others  there  doubtless  are,  the  reformation  of  some  of  which 
might  very  much  lessen  the  expenses  of  government,  improve  its 
organization,  and  add  to  the  wisdom  and  purity  of  its  adminis- 
tration in  all  its  parts ;  but  these  things  I  leave  to  others,  not  per- 
mitting myself  to  take  sides  in  the  political  questions  of  the  day. 
I  willingly  acquiesce  in  the  institutions  of  my  country,  perfect  or 
imperfect ;  and  think  it  a  duty  to  leave  their  modifications  to 
those  who  are  to  live  under  them,  and  are  to  participate  of  the 
good  or  evU  they  may  produce.  The  present  generation  has  the 
same  right  of  self-government  which  the  past  one  has  exercised 
for  itself.  And  those  in  the  full  vigor  of  body  and  mind  are 
more  able  to  judge  for  themselves  than  those  who  are  sinking 
under  the  wane  of  both.  If  the  sense  of  our  citizens  on  the 
question  of  a  convention  can  be  fairly  and  fully  taken,  its  result 
will,  I  am  sure,  be  wise  and  salutary ;  and  far  from  arrogating 
the  office  of  advice,  no  one  will  more  passively  acquiesce  in  it 
than  myself.  Retiring,  therefore,  to  the  tranquillity  called  for  by 
increasing  years  and  debility,  I  wish  not  to  be  understood  as  in- 
termeddling in  this  question ;  and  to  my  prayers  for  the  general 
good,  I  have  only  to  add  assurances  to  yourself  of  my  great  esteem. 


MoNTiCELLO,  April  20,  1824. 

Sir, — I  have  duly  received  your  favor  of  the  6th  instant,  in- 
forming me  of  the  institution  of  a  debating  society  in  Hingham, 
composed  of  adherents  to  the  republican  principles  of  the  revolu- 


tion  ;  and  I  am  justly  sensible  of  the  honor  done  my  name  by 
associating  it  with  the  title  of  the  society.  The  object  of  the 
society  is  laudable,  and  in  a  republican  nation,  whose  citizens 
are  to  be  led  by  reason  and  persuasion,  and  not  by  force,  the  art 
of  reasoning  becomes  of  first  importance.  In  this  line  antiquity 
has  left  us  the  finest  models  for  imitation  ;  and  he  who  studies 
and  imitates  them  most  nearly,  will  nearest  approach  the  perfec- 
tion of  the  art.  Among  these  I  should  consider  the  speeches  of 
Livy,  Sallust,  and  Tacitus,  as  pre-eminent  specimens  of  logic, 
taste,  and  that  sententious  brevity  which,  using  not  a  word  to 
spare,  leaves  not  a  moment  for  inattention  to  the  hearer.  Am- 
plification is  the  vice  of  modern  oratory.  It  is  an  insult  to  an 
assembly  of  reasonable  men,  disgusting  and  revolting  instead  of 
persuading.  Speeches  measured  by  the  hour,  die  with  the  hour. 
I  will  not,  however,  further  indulge  the  disposition  of  the  age  to 
sermonize,  and  especially  to  those  surrounded  by  so  much  better 
advice.  With  my  apologies,  therefore,  for  hazarding  even  these 
observations,  and  my  prayers  for  the  success  of  your  institution, 
be  pleased  to  accept  for  the  society  and  yourself  the  assurances 
of  my  high  consideration. 


MoNTiCELLO,  April  26,  1824. 

Dear  Sik, — I  have  heretofore  informed  you  that  our  legisla- 
ture had  midertaken  the  establishment  of  an  University  in  Vir- 
ginia ;  that  it  was  placed  in  my  neighborhood,  and  under  the  di- 
rection of  a  board  of  seven  risitors,  of  whom  I  am  one,  Mr. 
Madison  another,  and  others  equally  worthy  of  confidence.  We 
have  been  four  or  five  years  engaged  in  erecting  our  buildings, 
all  of  which  are  now  ready  to  receive  their  tenants,  one  excepted, 
which  the  present  season  will  put  into  a  state  for  use.  The  last 
session  of  our  legislature  had  by  new  donations  liberated  the 
revenue  of  fifteen  M.  D.  a  year,  with  which  they  had  before  en- 
dowed the  institution,  and  we  propose  to  open  it  the  beginning 


of  the  next  year.  We  require  the  intervening  time  for  seeking 
out  and  engaging  Professors.  As  to  these  we  have  determined 
to  receive  no  one  who  is  not  of  the  first  order  of  science  in  hia 
line  ;  and  as  such  in  every  branch  cannot  be  obtained  with  us, 
we  propose  to  seek  some  of  them  at  least  in  the  countries  ahead 
of  us  in  science,  and  preferably  in  Great  Britain,  the  land  of  our 
own  language,  habits,  and  manners.  But  how  to  find  out  those 
who  are  of  the  first  grade  of  science,  of  sober  correct  habits  and 
morals,  harmonizing  tempers,  talents  for  communication,  is  the 
difficulty.  Our  first  step  is  to  send  a  special  agent  to  the  Uni- 
versities of  Oxford,  Cambridge  and  Edinburgh,  to  make  the  se- 
lection for  us ;  and  the  person  appointed  for  this  office  is  the  gen- 
tleman who  will  hand  you  this  letter, — Mr.  Francis  Walker 
Gilmer, — the  best-educated  subject  we  have  raised  since  the 
revolution,  highly  qualified  in  all  the  important  branches  of 
science,  professing  particularly  that  of  the  law,  which  he  has 
practised  some  years  at  our  Supreme  Court  with  good  success 
and  flattering  prospects.  His  morals,  his  amiable  temper  and 
discretion,  will  do  justice  to  any  confidence  you  may  be  willing 
to  place  in  him,  for  I  commit  him  to  you  as  his  mentor  and  guide 
in  the  business  he  goes  on.  We  do  not  certainly  expect  to  ob- 
tain such  known  characters  as  were  the  Cullens,  the  Robertsons 
and  Persons  of  Great  Britain,  men  of  the  first  eminence  estab- 
lished there  in  reputation  and  office,  and  with  emoluments  not 
to  be  bettered  anywhere.  But  we  know  that  there  is  another 
race  treading  on  their  heels,  preparing  to  take  their  places,  and 
as  well  and  sometimes  better  qualified  to  fill  them.  These 
while  unsettled,  surrounded  by  a  crowd  of  competitors,  of  equal 
claims  and  perhaps  superior  credit  and  interest,  may  prefer  a 
comfortable  certainty  here  for  an  uncertain  hope  there,  and  a  lin- 
gering delay  even  of  that.  From  this  description  we  expect  we 
may  draw  professors  equal  to  those  of  the  highest  name.  The 
difficulty  is  to  distinguish  them ;  for  we  are  told  that  so  over- 
charged are  all  branches  of  business  in  that  country,  and  such  the 
difficulty  of  getting  the  means  of  living,  that  it  is  deemed  al- 
lowable in  ethics  for  even  the  most  honorable  minds  to  give 


highly  exaggerated  recommendations  and  certificates  to  enable  a 
friend  or  protege  to  get  into  a  livelihood ;  and  that  the  moment 
our  agent  should  be  known  to  be  on  such  a  mission,  he  would 
be  overwhelmed  by  applications  from  numerous  pretenders,  all 
of  whom,  worthy  or  unworthy,  would  be  supported  by  such  rec- 
ommendations and  such  names  as  would  confound  all  discrimi- 
nation. On  this  head  our  trust  and  hope  is  in  you.  Your 
knowledge  of  the  state  of  things,  your  means  of  finding  out  a 
character  or  two  at  each  place,  truly  trustworthy,  and  into  whose 
hands  you  can  commit  our  agent  with  entire  safety,  for  informa- 
tion, caution  and  co-operation,  induces  me  to  request  your  patron- 
age and  aid  in  our  endeavors  to  obtain  such  men,  and  such  only 
as  will  fulfil  our  views.  An  unlucky  selection  in  the  outset 
would  forever  blast  our  prospects.  From  our  information  of  the 
character  of  the  different  Universities,  we  expect  we  should  go 
to  Oxford  for  our  classical  professor,  to  Cambridge  for  those  of 
Mathematics,  Natural  Philosophy  and  Natural  History,  and  to 
Edinburgh  for  a  professor  of  Anatomy,  and  the  elements  or  out- 
lines only  of  Medicine.  We  have  still  our  eye  on  Mr.  Blaetter- 
man  for  the  professorship  of  modern  languages,  and  Mr.  Gilmer 
is  instructed  to  engage  him,  if  no  very  material  objection  to  him 
may  have  arisen  unknown  to  us.  We  can  place  in  Mr.  Gilmer's 
hands  but  a  moderate  sum  at  present  for  merely  text  books  to 
begin  with,  and  for  indispensable  articles  of  apparatus.  Mathe- 
matical, Astronomical,  Physical,  Chemical  and  Anatomical.  We 
are  in  the  hope  of  a  sum  of  $50,000,  as  soon  as  we  can  get  a 
settlement  passed  through  the  public  offices.  My  experience  in 
dealing  with  the  bookseller  Lackington,  on  your  recommendation, 
has  induced  me  to  recommend  him  to  Mr.  Gilmer,  and  if  we  can 
engage  his  fidelity,  we  may  put  into  his  hands  the  larger  supply 
of  books  when  we  are  ready  to  call  for  it,  and  particularly  what 
we  shall  propose  to  seek  in  England. 

Although  I  have  troubled  you  with  many  particulars,  1'  vet 
leave  abundance  for  verbal  explanation  with  Mr.  Gilmer,  who 
possesses  a  full  knowledge  of  everything,  and  our  full  confidence 
in  everything.     He  takes  with  him  plans  of  our  establishment, 


which  we  think  it  may  be  encouraging  to  show  to  the  persons 
to  whom  he  will  make  propositions,  as  well  to  let  them  see  the 
comforts  provided  for  themselves,  as  to  show  by  the  extensive- 
ness  and  expense  of  the  scale,  that  it  is  no  ephemeral  thing  to 
which  they  are  invited. 

With  my  earnest  solicitations  that  you  will  give  us  al'  your 
aid  in  an  undertaking  on  which  we  rest  the  hopes  and  happiness 
of  out  country,  accept  the  assurances  of  my  sincere  friendship, 
attachment  and  respect. 


MoNTicELLO,  May  16,  1824. 

Dear  Sik, — Your  favor  of  the  5th,  from  Williamsburg,  has 
been  duly  received,  and  presents  to  us  a  case  of  pregnant  charac- 
ter, admitting  important  issues,  and  requiring  serious  considera- 
tion and  conduct ;  yet  I  am  more  inclined  to  view  it  with  hope 
than  dismay.  It  involves  two  questions.  First.  Shall  the  col- 
lege of  William  and  Mary  be  removed  ?  Second.  To  what 
place  ?  As  to  the  first,  I  never  doubted  the  lawful  authority  of 
the  legislature  over  the  college,  as  being  a  public  institution  and 
endowed  from  the  public  property,  by  public  agents  for  that  func- 
tion, and  for  public  purposes.  Some  have  doubted  this  author- 
ity without  a  relinquishment  of  what  they  call  a  vested  right  by 
the  body  corporate.  But  as  their  voluntary  relinquishment  is  a 
circumstance  of  the  case,  it  is  relieved  from  that  doubt.  I  cer- 
tainly never  wished  that  my  venerable  alma  mater  should  be  dis- 
turbed. I  considered  it  as  an  actual  possession  of  that  ancient 
and  earliest  settlement  of  our  forefathers,  and  was  disposed  to  see 
it  yielded  as  a  courtesy,  rather  than  taken  as  a  right.  They, 
however,  are  free  to  renounce  a  benefit,  and  we  to  receive  it. 
Had  we  dissolved  it  on  the  principle  of  right,  to  give  a  direction 
to  its  funds  more  useful  to  the  public,  the  professors,  although 
their  chartered  tenure  is  during  pleasure  only,  might  have  reason- 
ably expected  a  vale  of  a  year  or  two's  salary,  as  an  intermediate 


support,  until  they  could  find  other  employment  for  their  talents. 
And  notwithstanding  that  their  abandonment  is  voluntary,  this 
should  still  be  given  them.  On  this  first  question  I  think  we 
should  be  absolutely  silent  and  passive,  taking  no  part  in  it  until 
the  old  institution  is  loosened  from  its  foundation  and  fairly 
placed  on  its  wheels. 

2.  On  the  second  question,  to  what  place  shall  it  be  moved  ? 
we  may  take  the  field  boldly.  Richmond,  it  seems,  claims  it, 
but  on  what  ground  of  advantage  to  the  public  ?  When  the  pro- 
fessors, their  charter  and  funds  shall  be  translated  to  Richmond, 
will  they  become  more  enlightened  there  than  at  the  old  place  ? 
Will  they  possess  more  science  ?  be  more  capable  of  communi- 
cating it  ?  or  more  competent  to  raise  it  from  the  dead,  in  a  new 
sect,  than  to  keep  it  alive  in  the  ancient  one  ?  Or  has  Richmond 
any  peculiarities  more  favorable  for  the  communication  of  the 
sciences  generally  than  the  place  which  the  legislature  has  pre- 
ferred and  fixed  on  for  that  purpose  ?  This  will  not  be  pretend- 
ed. But  it  seems  they  possess  advantages  for  a  medical  school. 
Let  us  scan  them.  Anatomy  may  be  as  competently  taught  at 
the  University  as  at  Richmond,  the  only  subjects  of  discretion 
which  either  place  can  count  on  are  equally  acquirable  at  both. 
And  as  to  medicine,  whatever  can  be  learned  from  lectures  or 
books,  may  be  taught  at  the  University  of  Virginia  as  well  as  at 
Richmond,  or  even  at  Baltimore,  Philadelphia,  New  York,  or 
Boston,  with  the  inestimable  additional  advantage  of  acquiring, 
at  the  same  time,  the  kindred  sciences  by  attending  the  other 
schools.  But  Richmond  thinks  it  can  have  a  hospital  which  will 
furnish  subjects  for  the  clinical  branch  of  medicine.  The  classes 
of  people  which  furnish  subjects  for  the  hospitals  of  Baltimore, 
Philadelphia,  New  York  and  Boston,  do  not  exist  at  Richmond. 
The  shipping  constantly  present  at  those  places,  furnish  many 
patients.  Is  there  a  ship  at  Richmond  ?  The  class  of  white 
servants  in  those  cities  which  is  numerous  and  penniless,  and 
whose  regular  resource  in  sickness  is  always  the  hospital,  consti- 
tutes the  great  body  of  their  patients  ;  this  class  does  not  exist  at 
Richmond.     The  servants  there  are  slaves,  whose  masters  are  by 


law  obliged  to  take  care  of  them  in  sickness  as  in  health,  and 
who  could  not  be  admitted  into  a  hospital.  These  resources, 
then,  being  null,  the  free  inhabitants  alone  remain  for  a  hospital 
at  Richmond.  And  I  will  ask  how  many  families  in  Richmond 
would  send  their  husbands,  wives,  or  children  to  a  hospital,  in 
sickness,  to  be  attended  by  nurses  hardened  by  habit  against  the 
feelings  of  pity,  to  lie  in  public  rooms  harassed  by  the  cries  an(? 
sufferings  of  disease  under  every  form,  alarmed  by  the  groans  Oj 
the  dying,  exposed  as  a  corpse  to  be  lectured  over  by  a  clinical 
professor,  to  be  crowded  and  handled  by  his  students  to  hear 
their  case  learnedly  explained  to  them,  its  threatening  symptoms 
developed,  and  its  probable  termination  foreboded  ?  In  vindica- 
tion of  Richmond,  I  may  surely  answer  that  there  is  not  in  the 
place  a  family  so  heartless,  as,  relinquishing  their  own  tender 
cares  of  a  child  or  parent,  to  abandon  them  in  sickness  to  this 
last  resource  of  poverty ;  for  it  is  poverty  alone  which  peoples 
hospitals,  and  those  alone  who  are  on  the  charities  of  their  parish 
would  go  to  their  hospital.  Have  they  paupers  enough  to  fill  a 
hospital  ?  and  sickness  enough  among  these  ?  One  reason  alleged 
for  the  removal  of  the  college  to  Richmond  is  that  Williamsburg 
is  sickly,  is  happily  little  apt  for  the  situation  of  a  hospital.  No 
Sir ;  Richmond  is  no  place  to  furnish  subjects  for  clinical  lec- 
tures. I  have  always  had  Norfolk  in  view  for  this  purpose.  The 
climate  and  pontine  country  around  Norfolk  render  it  truly  sickly 
in  itself.  It  is,  moreover,  the  rendezvous  not  only  of  the  ship- 
ping of  commerce,  but  of  the  vessels  of  the  public  navy.  The 
United  States  have  there  a  hospital  already  established,  and  sup- 
plied with  subjects  from  these  local  circumstances.  I  had  thought 
and  have  mentioned  to  yourself  and  oxu-  colleagues,  that  when 
our  medical  school  has  got  well  under  way,  we  should  propose 
to  the  federal  government  the  association  with  that  establishment, 
and  at  our  own  expense,  of  the  clinical  branch  of  our  medica. 
school,  so  that  our  students,  after  qualifying  themselves  with  the 
other  branches  of  the  science  here,  might  complete  their  course 
of  preparation  by  attending  clinical  Jectures  for  six  or  twelve 
months  at  Norfolk. 


But  Richmond  has  another  claim,  as  being  the  seat  of  govern- 
ment. The  indisposition  of  Richmond  towards  our  University 
has  not  been  unfelt.  But  would  it  not  be  wiser  in  them  to  rest 
satisfied  with  the  government  and  their  local  academy  ?  Can  they 
afford,  on  the  question  of  a  change  of  the  seat  of  government,  by 
hostilizing  the  middle  counties,  to  tranfer  them  from  the  eastern 
to  the  western  interest  ?  To  make  it  their  interest  to  withdraw 
from  the  former  that  ground  of  claim,  if  used  for  adversary  pur- 
poses ?  With  things  as  they  are,  let  both  parties  remain  content 
and  united. 

If,  then,  William  and  Mary  is  to  be  removed,  and  not  to  Rich- 
mond, can  there  be  two  opinions  how  its  funds  are  to  be  directed 
to  the  best  advantage  for  the  public  ?     When  it  was  found  that 
that  seminary  was  entirely  ineffectual  towards  the  object  of  pub- 
lic education,  and  that  one  on  a  better  plan,  and  in  a  better  situa- 
tion, must  be  provided,  what  was  so  obvious  as  to  employ  for 
that  purpose  the  funds  of  the  one  abandoned,  with  what  more 
would  be  necessary,  to  raise  the  new  establishment  ?     And  what 
so  obvious  as  to  do  now  what  might  reasonably  have  been  done 
then,  by  consolidating  together  the  institutions  and  their  funds  ? 
The  plan  sanctioned  by  the  legislature  required  for  our  University 
ten  professors,  but  the  funds  appropriated  will  maintain  but  eight, 
and  some  of  these  are  consequently  over-burthened  with  duties  ; 
the  hundred  thousand  dollars  of  principal  which  you  say  still  re- 
mains to  William  and  Mary,  by  its  interest  of  six  thousand  dol- 
lars, would  give  us  the  two  deficient  professors,  with  an  annual 
surplus  for  the  purchase  of  books ;  and  certainly  the  legislature 
will  see  no  public  interest,  after  the  expense  incurred  on  the  new 
establishment,  in  setting  up  a  rival  in  the  city  of  Richmond ; 
they  cannot  think  it  better  to  have  two  institutions  crippling  one 
another,  than  one  of  healthy  powers,  competent  to  that  highest 
grade  of  instruction  which  neither,  with  a  divided  support,  could 
expect  to  attain. 

Another  argument  may  eventually  arise  in  favor  of  consolida. 
tion.  The  contingent  gift  at  the  late  session,  of  fifty  thousand 
dollars,  for  books  and  apparatus,  shows  a  sense  in  the  legislature 

VOL.  vir.  23 


that  those  objects  are  still  to  be  provided.  If  we  fail  in  obtaining 
that  sum,  they  will  feel  an  incumbency  to  provide  it  otherwise. 
What  so  ready  as  the  derelict  capital  of  William  and  Mary,  and 
the  large  library  they  uselessly  possess  ?  Should  that  college 
then  be  removed,  I  cannot  doubt  that  the  legislature,  keeping  in 
view  its  original  object,  will  consolidate  it  with  the  University. 

But  it  will  not  be  removed.  Richmond  is  doubtless  in  earnest, 
but  that  the  visitors  should  concur  is  impossible.  The  professors 
are  the  prime-movers,  and  do  not  mean  exactly  what  they  pro- 
pose. They  hold  up  this  raw-head  and  bloody-bones  in  terrorem 
to  us,  to  force  us  to  receive  them  into  our  institution.  Men  who 
have  degraded  and  foundered  the  vessel  whose  helm  was  en- 
trusted to  them,  want  now  to  force  their  incompetence  on  us.  I 
know  none  of  them  personally,  but  judge  of  them  from  the  fact 
and  the  opinion  I  hear  from  every  one  acquainted  with  the  case, 
that  it  has  been  destroyed  by  their  incompetence  and  mis-man- 
agement. Until  the  death  of  Bishop  Madison,  it  kept  at  its  usual 
stand  of  about  eighty  students.  It  is  now  dwindled  to  about 
twenty,  and  the  professors  acknowledge  that  on  opening  our 
doors,  theirs  may  be  shut.  Their  funds  in  that  case,  would  cer- 
tainly be  acceptable  and  salutary  to  us.  But  not  with  the  incu- 
bus of  their  faculty.  When  they  iind  that  their  feint  gives  us  no 
alarm,  they  will  retract,  will  recall  their  grammar  school,  make 
their  college  useful  as  a  sectional  school  of  preparation  for  the 
University,  and  teach  the  languages,  surveying,  navigation,  plane 
trigonometry,  and  such  other  elements  of  science  as  will  be 
useful  to  many  whose  views  do  not  call  for  a  university  educa- 

I  will  only  add  to  this  long  letter  an  opinion  that  we  had  better 
say  as  little  as  we  can  on  this  whole  subject ;  give  them  no 
alarm  ;  let  them  petition  for  the  removal ;  let  them  get  the  old 
structure  completely  on  wheels,  and  not  till  then  put  in  our  claim 
to  its  reception.  I  shall  communicate  your  letter,  as  you  re- 
quest, to  Mr.  Madison,  and  with  it  this  answer.  Why  can  you 
not  call  on  us  on  your  way  to  Warminster,  and  make  this  a  sub- 
ject of  conversation  ?     With  my  devoted  respects  to  Mrs.  Cabell. 


assure  her  that  she  can  be  nowhere  more  cordially  received  than 
by  the  family  of  Monticello.  And  the  deviation  from  your  di- 
rect road  is  too  small  to  merit  consideration.  Ever  and  affection- 
ately yonr  friend  and  servant. 


Monticello,  June  5,  1824. 

Dear  and  Venerable  Sib, — I  am  much  indebted  for  your  kind 
letter  of  February  the  29th,  and  for  your  valuable  volume  on  the 
English  constitution.  I  have  read  this  with  pleasure  and  much 
approbation,  and  think  it  has  deduced  the  constitution  of  the 
English  nation  from  its  rightful  root,  the  Anglo-Saxon.  It  is 
really  wonderful,  that  so  many  able  and  learned  men  should  have 
failed  in  their  attempts  to  define  it  with  correctness.  No  wonder 
then,  that  Paine,  who  thought  more  than  he  read,  should  have 
credited  the  great  authorities  who  have  declared,  that  the  will  of 
parliament  is  the  constitution  of  England.  So  Marbois,  before 
the  French  revolution,  observed  to  me,  that  the  Almanac  Royal 
was  the  constitution  of  France.  Your  derivation  of  it  from  the 
Anglo-Saxons,  seems  to  be  made  on  legitimate  principles.  Hav- 
ing driven  out  the  former  inhabitants  of  that  part  of  the  island 
called  England,  they  became  aborigines  as  to  you,  and  your 
lineal  ancestors.  They  doubtless  had  a  constitution ;  and  al- 
though they  have  not  left  it  in  a  written  formula,  to  the  precise 
text  of  which  you  may  always  appeal,  yet  they  have  left  frag- 
ments of  their  history  and  laws,  from  which  it  may  be  inferred 
with  considerable  certainty.  Whatever  their  history  and  laws 
show  to  have  been  practised  with  approbation,  we  may  presume 
was  permitted  by  their  constitution ;  whatever  was  not  so  prac- 
ticed, was  not  permitted.  And  although  this  constitution  was 
violated  and  set  at  naught  by  Norman  force,  yet  force  carmot 
change  right.  A  perpetual  claim  was  kept  up  by  the  nation,  by 
their  perpetual  demand  of  a  restoration  of  their  Saxon  laws , 
which  shows  they  were  never  relinquished  by  the  will  of  the 

356  •      JEFFERSON'S   WORKS. 

nation.  In  the  puUings  and  haulings  for  these  ancient  rights, 
between  the  nation,  and  its  kings  of  the  races  of  Plantagenets, 
Tudors  and  Stuarts,  there  was  sometimes  gain,  and  sometimes 
loss,  until  the  final  re-conquest  of  their  rights  from  the  Stuarts. 
The  destitution  and  expulsion  of  this  race  broke  the  thread  of 
pretended  inheritance,  extinguished  all  regal  usurpations,  and  the 
nation  re-entered  into  all  its  rights ;  and  although  in  their  bill  of 
rights  they  specifically  reclaimed  some  only,  yet  the  omission  of 
the  others  was  no  renunciation  of  the  right  to  assume  their  eser- 
cise  also,  whenever  occasion  should  occur.  The  new  King  re- 
ceived no  rights  or  powers,  but  those  expressly  granted  to 
him.  It  has  ever  appeared  to  me,  that  the  difiererice  between 
the  whig  and  the  tory  of  England  is,  that  the  whig  deduces  his 
rights  from  the  Anglo-Saxon  source,  and  the  tory  from  the  Nor- 
man. And  Hume,  the  great  apostle  of  toryism,  says,  in  so  many 
words,  note  AA  to  chapter  42,  that,  in  the  reign  of  the  Stuarts, 
"  it  was  the  people  who  encroached  upon  the  sovereign,  not  the 
sovereign  who  attempted,  as  is  pretended,  to  usurp  upon  the  peo- 
ple." This  supposes  the  Norman  usurpations  to  be  rights  in  his 
successors.  And  again,  0,  159,  "  the  commons  established  a  prin- 
ciple, which  is  noble  in  itself,  and  seems  specious,  but  is  belied 
by  all  history  and  experience,  that  the  people  are  the  origin  of  all 
just  power."  And  where  else  will  this  degenerate  son  of  science, 
this  traitor  to  his  fellow  men,  find  the  origin  oi  just  powers,  if 
not  in  the  majority  of  the  society  ?  Will  it  be  in  the  minority  ? 
Or  in  an  individual  of  that  minority  ? 

Our  Revolution  commenced  on  more  favorable  ground.  It 
presented  us  an  album  on  which  we  were  free  to  write  what  we 
pleased.  We  had  no  occasion  to  search  into  musty  records,  to 
hunt  up  royal  parchments,  or  to  investigate  the  laws  and  institu- 
tions of  a  semi-barbarous  ancestry.  We  appealed  to  those  of  na- 
ture, and  found  them  engraved  on  our  hearts.  Yet  we  did  not 
avail  ourselves  of  all  the  advantages  of  our  position.  We  had 
never  been  permitted  to  exercise  self-government.  When  forced 
to  assume  it,  we  were  novices  in  its  science.  Its  principles  and 
forms  had  entered  little  into  our  former  education.     We  estab- 


lished  however  some,  although  not  all  its  important  principles. 
The  constitutions  of  most  of  our  States  assert,  that  all  power  is 
inherent  in  the  people ;  that  they  may  exercise  it  by  themselves, 
in  all  cases  to  which  they  think  themselves  competent,  (as  in 
electing  their  functionaries  executive  and  legislative,  and  deciding 
by  a  jmy  of  themselves,  in  all  judiciary  cases  in  which  any  fact 
is  involved,)  or  they  may  act  by  representatives,  freely  and  equally 
chosen ;  that  it  is  their  right  and  duty  to  be  at  all  times  armed ; 
that  they  are  entitled  to  freedom  of  person,  freedom  of  religion, 
freedom  of  property,  and  freedom  of  the  press.  In  the  structure 
of  our  legislatures,  we  think  experience  has  proved  the  benefit 
of  subjecting  questions  to  two  separate  bodies  of  deliberants  ;  but 
in  constituting  these,  natural  right  has  been  mistaken,  some  mak- 
ing one  of  these  bodies,  and  some  both,  the  representatives  of 
property  instead  of  persons ;  whereas  the  double  deliberation 
might  be  as  well  obtained  without  any  violation  of  true  prin- 
ciple, either  by  requiring  a  greater  age  in  one  of  the  bodies,  or 
by  electing  a  proper  number  of  representatives  of  persons,  divid- 
ing them  by  lots  into  two  chambers,  and  renewing  the  division 
at  frequent  intervals,  in  order  to  break  up  all  cabals.  Virginia, 
of  which  I  am  myself  a  native  and  resident,  was  not  only  the 
first  of  the  States,  but,  I  believe  I  may  say,  the  first  of  the  na- 
tions of  the  earth,  which  assembled  its  wise  men  peaceably  to- 
gether to  form  a  fundamental  constitution,  to  commit  it  to  writ- 
ing, and  place  it  among  their  archives,  where  every  one  should 
be  free  to  appeal  to  its  text.  But  this  act  was  very  imperfect. 
The  other  States,  as  they  proceeded  successively  to  the  same 
work,  made  successive  improvements ;  and  several  of  them,  still 
further  corrected  by  experience,  have,  by  conventions,  still  fur- 
ther amended  their  first  forms.  My  own  State  has  gone  on  so 
far  with  its  premiere  ehauche ;  but  it  is  now  proposing  to  call  a 
convention  for  amendment.  Among  other  improvements,  I  hope 
they  will  adopt  the  subdivision  of  our  counties  into  wards.  The 
former  may  be  estimated  at  an  average  of  twenty-four  miles 
^uare ;  the  latter  should  be  about  six  miles  square  each,  and 
would  answer  to  the  hundreds  of  your  Saxon  Alfred.     In  each 


of  these  might  be,  1st.  An  elementary  school ;  2d.  A  company 
of  militia,  with  its  ofRicers;  3d.  A  justice  of  the  peace  and  con- 
stable ;  4th.  Each  ward  should  take  care  of  their  own  poor ; 
5th.  Their  own  roads ;  6th.  Their  own  police ;  7th.  Elect  within 
themselves  one  or  more  jurors  to  attend  the  courts  of  justice ; 
and  8th.  Give  in  at  their  Folk-house,  their  votes  for  all  function- 
aries reserved  to  their  election.  Each  ward  would  thus  be  a 
small  republic  within  itself,  and  every  man  in  the  State  would 
thus  become  an  acting  member  of  the  common  government,  trans- 
acting in  person  a  great  portion  of  its  rights  and  duties,  subor- 
dinate indeed,  yet  important,  and  entirely  within  his  competence. 
The  wit  of  man  cannot  devise  a  more  solid  basis  for  a  free,  dur- 
able and  well-administered  republic. 

With  respect  to  our  State  and  federal  governments,  I  do  not 
think  their  relations  correctly  understood  by  foreigners.  They 
generally  suppose  the  former  subordinate  to  the  latter.  But  this 
is  not  the  case.  They  are  co-ordinate  departments  of  one  simple 
and  integral  whole.  To  the  State  governments  are  reserved  all 
legislation  and  administration,  in  affairs  which  concern  their  own 
citizens  only,  and  to  the  federal  government  is  given  whatever 
concerns  foreigners,  or  the  citizens  of  other  States ;  these  func- 
tions alone  being  made  federal.  The  one  is  the  domestic,  the 
other  the  foreign  branch  of  the  same  government ;  neither  hav- 
ing control  over  the  other,  but  within  its  own  department.  There 
are  one  or  two  exceptions  only  to  this  partition  of  power.  But, 
you  may  ask,  if  the  two  departments  should  claim  each  the 
same  subject  of  power,  where  is  the  common  umpire  to  decide 
ultimately  between  them  ?  In  cases  of  little  importance  or  ur- 
gency, the  prudence  of  both  parties  will  keep  them  aloof  from 
the  questionable  ground ;  but  if  it  can  neither  be  avoided  nor 
compromised,  a  convention  of  the  States  must  be  called,  to  ascribe 
the  doubtful  power  to  that  department  which  they  may  think 
best.  You  will  perceive  by  these  details,  that  we  have  not  yet 
so  far  perfected  our  constitutions  as  to  venture  to  make  them  un- 
changeable. But  still,  in  their  present  state,  we  consider  them 
uot  otherwise  changeable  than  by  the  authority  of  the  people. 


on  a  spec'.al  election  of  representatives  for  that  purpose  expressly : 
they  are  until  then  the  lex  legum. 

But  can  they  be  made  unchangeable  ?  Can  one  generation 
bind  another,  and  all  others,  in  succession  forever  ?  I  think  not. 
The  Creator  has  made  the  earth  for  the  living,  not  the  dead. 
Righfe  and  powers  can  only  belong  to  persons,  not  to  things,  not 
to  mere  matter,  unendowed  with  will.  The  dead  are  not  even 
things.  The  particles  of  matter  which  composed  their  bodies, 
make  part  now  of  the  bodies  of  other  animals,  vegetables,  or  min- 
erals, of  a  thousand  forms.  To  what  then  are  attached  the  rights 
and  powers  they  held  while  in  the  form  of  men  ?  A  generation 
may  bind  itself  as  long  as  its  majority  continues  in  life  ;  when 
that  has  disappeared,  another  majority  is  in  place,  holds  all  the 
rights  and  powers  their  predecessors  once  held,  and  may  change 
their  laws  and  institutions  to  suit  themselves.  Nothing  then  is 
unchangeable  but  the  inherent  and  unalienable  rights  of  man. 

I  was  glad  to  find  in  your  book  a  formal  contradiction,  at 
length,  of  the  judiciary  usurpation  of  legislative  powers  ;  for  such 
the  judges  have  usurped  in  their  repeated  decisions,  that  Chris- 
tianity is  a  part  of  the  common  law.  The  proof  of  the  contrary, 
which  you  have  adduced,  is  incontrovertible ;  to  wit,  that  the 
common  law  existed  while  the  Anglo-Saxons  were  yet  Pagans, 
at  a  time  when  they  had  never  yet  heard  the  name  of  Christ 
pronounced,  or  knew  that  such  a  character  had  ever  existed. 
But  it  may  amuse  you,  to  show  when,  and  by  what  means,  they 
stole  this  law  in  upon  us.  In  a  case  of  quare  iinpedit  in  the 
Year-book  34,  H,  6,  folio  38,  (anno  1458,)  a  question  was  made, 
how  far  the  ecclesiastical  law  was  to  be  respected  in  a  common 
law  court  ?  And  Prisot,  Chief  Justice,  gives  his  opinion  in  these 
words :  "A  tiel  leis  qu'  ils  de  seint  eglise  out  en  micien  scrip- 
ture, covient  a  nous  a  donner  credence  ;  car  ceo  common  ley  sur 
quels  touts  manners  leis  sont  fondes.  Et  auxy.  Sir,  nous  sumus 
obleges  de  conustre  loin:  ley  de  saint  eglise ;  et  semblablement  ils 
sont  obliges  de  consustre  nostre  ley.  Et,  Sir,  si  poit  apperer  or  a 
nous  que  I'evesque  ad  fait  come  un  ordinary  fera  en  tiel  cas,  adong 
nous  devons  cee  adjuger  bon,  ou  auterment  nemy,"  &c.     See  S. 


C.  Fitzh.  Abr.  Glu.  imp.  89,  Bro.  Abr.  Q,u.  imp.  12.  Finch  in 
his  first  book,  c.  3,  is  the  first  afterwards  who  quotes  this  case 
and  mistakes  it  thus  :  '•  To  such  laws  of  the  church  as  have 
warrant  in  holy  scripture,  our  law  giveth  credence."  And  cites 
Prisot ;  mistranslating  "  ancien  scripture,''''  into  "  holy  scriptureJ" 
Whereas  Prisot  palpably  says,  "to  such  laws  as  those  of '  holy 
church  have  in  ancient  writing,  it  is  proper  for  us  to  give  cre- 
dence," to  wit,  to  their  ancient  written  laws.  This  was  in  1613, 
a  century  and  a  half  after  the  dictum  of  Prisot.  Wingate,  in 
1658,  erects  this  false  translation  into  a  maxim  of  the  common 
law,  copying  the  words  of  Finch,  but  citing  Prisot,  Wing.  Max. 
3.  And  Sheppard,  title,  "  Religion,"  in  1675,  copies  the  same 
mistranslation,  quoting  the  Y.  B.  Finch  and  Wingate.  Hale  ex- 
presses it  in  these  words :  "  Christianity  is  parcel  of  the  laws  of 
England."  1  Ventr.  293,  3  Keb.  607.  But  he  quotes  no  au- 
thority. By  these  echoings  and  re-echoings  from  one  to  another, 
it  had  become  so  established  in  1728,  that  in  the  case  of  the 
King  vs.  Woolston,  2  Stra.  834,  the  court  would  not  sufiier  it  to 
be  debated,  whether  to  write  against  Christianity  was  punishable 
in  the  temporal  court  at  common  law  ?  Wood,  therefore,  409, 
ventures  still  to  vary  the  phrase,  and  say,  that  all  blasphemy  and 
profaneness  are  oifences  by  the  common  law ;  and  cites  2  Stra. 
Then  Blackstone,  in  1763,  IV.  59,  repeats  the  words  of  Hale, 
that  "  Christianity  is  part  of  the  laws  of  England,"  citing  Ventris 
and  Strange.  And  finally.  Lord  Mansfield,  with  a  little  qualifi- 
cation, in  Evans'  case,  in  1767,  says,  that  "  the  essential  princi- 
ples of  revealed  religion  are  part  of  the  common  law."  Thus 
ingulphing  Bible,  Testament  and  all  into  the  common  law,  with- 
out citing  any  authority.  And  thus  we  find  this  chain  of  author- 
ities hanging  link  by  link,  one  upon  another,  and  all  ultimately 
on  one  and  the  same  hook,  and  that  a  mistranslation  of  the  words 
•'  ancien  scripture,"  used  by  Prisot.  Finch  quotes  Prisot ;  Win- 
gate does  the  same.  Sheppard  quotes  Prisot,  Finch  and  Wing- 
ate. Hale  cites  nobody.  The  court  in  Woolston's  case,  cites 
Hale.  Wood  cites  Woolston's  case.  Blackstone  quotes  Wool- 
ston's case  and  Hale.     And  Lord  Mansfield,  like  Hale,  ventures 


it  on  his  own  authority.  Here  I  might  defy  the  best-read  law- 
yer to  produce  another  scrip  of  authority  for  this  judiciary  forg- 
ery ;  and  1  might  go  on  further  to  show,  how  some  of  the  Anglo- 
Saxon  priests  interpolated  into  the  text  of  Alfred's  laws,  the  20th, 
21st,  22d,  and  23d  chapters  of  Exodus,  and  the  15th  of  the  Acts 
of  the  Apostles,  from  the  23d  to  the  29th  verses.  But  this  would 
lead  my  pen  and  your  patience  too  far.  What  a  conspiracy  this, 
between  Church  and  State  !  Sing  Tantarara,  rogues  all,  rogues 
all,  Sing  Tantarara,  rogues  all ! 

I  must  still  add  to  this  long  and  rambling  letter,  my  acknowl- 
edgments for  your  good  wishes  to  the  University  we  are  now  es- 
tablishing in  this  State.  There  are  some  novelties  in  it.  Of 
that  of  a  professorship  of  the  principles  of  government,  you  ex- 
press your  approbation.  They  will  be  founded  in  the  rights  of 
man.  That  of  agriculture,  I  am  sure,  you  will  approve  ;  and 
that  also  of  Anglo-Saxon.  As  the  histories  and  laws  left  us  in 
that  type  and  dialect,  must  be  the  text  books  of  the  reading  of  the 
learners,  they  will  imbibe  with  the  language  their  free  principles 
of  government.  The  volumes  you  have  been  so  kind  as  to  send, 
shall  be  placed  in  the  library  of  the  University.  Having  at  this 
time  in  England  a  person  sent  for  the  purpose  of  selecting  some 
Professors,  a  Mr.  Gilmer  of  my  neighborhood,  I  cannot  but  rec- 
ommend him  to  your  patronage,  counsel  and  guardianship,  against 
imposition,  misinformation,  and  the  deceptions  of  partial  and  false 
recommendations,  in  the  selection  of  characters.  He  is  a  gentle- 
man of  great  worth  and  correctness,  my  particular  friend,  well 
educated  in  various  branches  of  science,  and  worthy  of  entire 

Your  age  of  eighty-four  and  mine  of  eighty-one  years,  insure 
us  a  speedy  meeting.  We  may  then  commune  at  leisure,  and 
more  fuUy,  on  the  good  and  evil  which,  in  the  course  of  our 
long  lives,  we  have  both  witnessed  ;  and  in  the  meantime,  I  pray 
you  to  accept  assurances  of  my  high  veneration  and  esteem  for 
yom'  person  and  character. 



MoNTicKLLO,  June  29,  1824. 

Dear  Sir, — I  have  to  thank  you  for  Mr.  Pickering's  elaborate 
philippic  against  Mr.  Adams,  Gerry,  Smith,  and  myself;  and  I 
have  delayed  the  acknowledgment  until  I  could  read  it  and  make 
some  observations  on  it. 

I  could  not  have  believed,  that  for  so  many  years,  and  to  such 
a  period  of  advanced  age,  he  could  have  nourished  passions  so 
vehement  and  viperous.  It  appears,  that  for  thirty-years  past, 
he  has  been  industriously  collecting  materials  for  vituperating  the 
characters  he  had  marked  for  his  hatred ;  some  of  whom,  certain- 
ly, if  enmities  towards  him  had  ever  existed,  had  forgotten  them 
all,  or  buried  them  in  the  grave  with  themselves.  As  to  myself, 
there  never  had  been  anything  personal  between  us,  nothing  but 
the  general  opposition  of  party  sentiment ;  and  our  personal  in- 
tercourse had  been  that  of  urbanity,  as  himself  says.  But  it 
seems  he  has  been  all  this  time  brooding  over  an  enmity  which 
I  had  never  felt,  and  that  with  respect  to  myself,  as  well  as  oth- 
ers, he  has  been  writing  far  and  near,  and  in  every  direction,  to 
get  hold  of  original  letters,  where  he  could,  copies,  where  he 
could  not,  certificates  and  journals,  catching  at  every  gossiping 
story  he  could  hear  of  in  any  quarter,  supplying  by  suspicions 
what  he  could  find  nowhere  else,  and  then  arguing  on  this  mot- 
ley farrago,  as  if  established  on  gospel  evidence.  And  while  ex- 
pressing his  wonder,  that  "  at  the  age  of  eighty-eight,  the  strong 
passions  of  Mr.  Adams  should  not  have  cooled  ;"  that  on  the  con- 
trary, "they  had  acquired  the  mastery  of  his  soul,"  (p.  100;) 
that  "  where  these  were  enlisted,  no  reliance  could  be  placed  on 
his  statements,"  (p.  104;)  the  facility  and  little  truth  with  which 
he  could  represent  facts  and  occurrences,  concerning  persons  who 
were  the  objects  of  his  hatred,  (p.  3 ;)  that  "  he  is  capable  of 
making  the  grossest  misrepresentations,  and,  from  detached  facts, 
and  often  from  bare  suspicions,  of  drawing  unwarrantable  infer- 
ences, if  suited  to  his  purpose  at  the  instant,"  (p.  174;)  while 
making  such  charges,  I  say,  on  Mr,  Adams,  instead  of  his  "  ecce 


homo"  (p.  100 ;)  how  justly  might  we  say  to  him,  "  mutato  nom- 
ine, de  tefabtda  7iarratur."  For  the  assiduity  and  industry  he 
has  employed  in  his  benevolent  researches  after  matter  of  crim- 
ination against  us,  I  refer  to  his  pages  13,  14,  34,  36,  46,  71.  79, 
90,  bis.  92,  93,  bis.  101,  ter.  104,  116,  118,  141,  143,  146,  150, 
151,  153,  168,  171,  172.  That  Mr.  Adams'  strictures  on  him, 
written  and  printed,  should  have  excited  some  notice  on  his  part, 
was  not  perhaps  to  be  wondered  at.  But  the  sufficiency  of  his 
motive  for  the  large  attack  on  me  may  be  mor